Revealed: How you can still get Olympic tickets

Desperate to see the Olympics? We can't guarantee you tickets, but we can get you near the front of the queue. Here's sound advice from Warren Chrismas.

Revealed: How you can still get Olympic tickets

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Tickets still available for Games events
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The clamour for tickets was massive before the Olympics – and demand has got even bigger and more intense since the Games actually began last week.

The Internet is awash with messages from eager sports fans absolutely desperate to sample the action.

The good news is that, with a week still to go, tickets are still being released on a daily basis on the official ticket site.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of tickets have become available in the past few days – and not just high-priced tickets, but many £20-40 tickets too.

Late on Wednesday night, we were lucky enough to get tickets for two athletic sessions, one in reallocated VIP seats.

There's no way of knowing how many more tickets will become available, but follow this advice, and you'll have a fighting chance of getting your hands on them.

Firstly, we'll assume that you're already registered on the official ticket site and familiar with the way it works and its peculiarities.

The key to success is speed - you've go to be really, really on the ball. After getting the tickets mentioned above, we tried again for other sessions, just a few minutes later – and got nothing.

So, make sure you have a good idea of what you want to see, which dates and how much you're willing to pay before searching. Is it worth paying £750 to see athletics? Even if it's once in a lifetime? Dither when the tickets are live, and you could easily miss out.

Search for a specific event or venue. Obviously, there are fewer and fewer events now. Demand for 'minor' events like Handball and Hockey is still massive because the ticket also gives you access to the Olympic Park for the day.

The results list you see is events which have recently become available (much to the chagrin of everyone, it's not updated in real-time). When you actually apply for the 'available' tickets, you're put in a queue. Chances are you'll get a 'No tickets found' message. Very frustrating, we know.

So here's the rub: if, when searching for the first time, you see a list of events 'available', you're almost certainly too late!

You need to search regularly. Once every minute should do it. You can do that whilst watching Olympic action in another window, of course.

Ideally, you'll get blank search results the first time. If events then appear available suddenly, after you've re-done your search a few (or many) times, you're in with a real chance.

Select your tickets quickly. Remember, you should have a good idea of what you want to see, on which dates, and for how much.

You can add up to four event sessions to your shopping list. Choosing one will make your application quicker. Choosing four will spread your chances. That's your shout.

Hopefully, you'll be in a position to hit the orange 'Request tickets' button.

Here's the important bit: If you're asked you sign in at this stage, you'll probably miss out! The time it takes to sign in, and enter the online verification (reCAPTCHA) code, will put you well down the waiting queue.

So here's the big tip: make sure you're always fully signed in before you search. We do this by applying for available tickets (say, £1500 closing ceremony) every 10-15 minutes or so, then rejecting them at the last stage.

So, going back to your urgent mission… Request the tickets and you'll be put in a queue. If you're told the wait is a few minutes, you could well be in luck (although it will invariably take longer).

If you're told "15 minutes or more" (the max it ever shows), you're probably well down the list. We've heard stories of '15min' countdowns taking an hour… before returning a 'No tickets found' message. Arrrrrgh!

You need to make sure you're in front of your computer or mobile device. If your application succeeds, you have two minutes to confirm you want the tickets (and then you'll need your payment details to hand). Miss that, and you'll lose them.

If you've got to this stage, the tickets should be yours, although we have heard stories of the site crashing/system failing at this point, so don't take anything for granted until you have a confirmation email.

Finally, it's worth mentioning that tickets seem to become available throughout the day. The big drops last week, however, were in the evenings, from 9pm to 11pm. Note: on Saturday night, the big ticket drop was around 7.30pm , and Sunday it was 6.15pm.

Again, we don't know how many tickets will be released over coming days, but the advice above will get you to the front of the queue.

Update: You can get handy availability updates on Twitter by following @2012TicketAlert – the service was temporarily blocked over the weekend, but it's not been approved and is working again.

Good luck!

Some additional notes about Olympic tickets:

* Tickets are not available for purchase at venues (except for some regional football matches), so don't turn up without one. The only official source is the 2012 ticket website.

* To get into the Olympic Park you need a ticket for an event there, or a £10 day pass. The latter sold out months ago (many were given to local residents). We recommended BT London Live at Hyde Park and Victoria Park as good alternatives for public viewing, especially with family.

* You can only go up the Orbit if you have a pre-booked ticket for the tower (and park access). Again, tickets for this sold out a long time ago.

* 'Recycled' tickets are sold at ticket offices within the Olympic Park. They're only for team events, and only become available when someone leaves a venue – eg after the first match of two in a single session. They cost £5 adults/£1 children. Demand is huge. Expect to queue for hours, with no guarantee of getting one.

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