An online travel agency has seen surprise record bookings by holidaymakers in the hours immediately following news that an attempted plan to carry bombs onto planes leaving the UK has been foiled by police.
Travel agency, www.freedomdirect.co.uk has seen record bookings made in the first 12 hours since news broke about the police operation that successfully prevented a plot to detonate bombs, hidden in hand luggage, on planes travelling from the UK to America.
Freedom Direct were surprised to see such buoyant sales on a day when news reports were dominated by tales of long delays facing air travellers and publicity about the strict new security restrictions concerning hand luggage.
In contrast to the positive attitude of web bookers, the travel agency saw phone bookings through their call centre drop by almost a third on that day.
Nick Jackson, Commercial and Marketing Director for Freedom Direct says: “We had fully expected a drop in bookings, as that has been the usual pattern on days such as this, like September 11th, when there is bad news about the safety of travelling by air. We certainly didn’t expect to record our highest number of bookings in one day, in the aftermath of such news.”
“We can only assume that customers who book on the web are a resilient lot.”
Whether booking on the web, or by phone, the deals on offer to customers are exactly the same. Also, no special rates or promotions were on offer that particular day that could be attributed to causing such an increase in sales.
Nick says: “We think this demonstrates a great level of confidence in travellers that the airports and police are continuing to do a great job, enabling people to travel abroad safely. Customers seem sure that ‘normal service will resume’ quickly, in time for them to travel.”
The vast majority of Freedom Direct’s customers book holiday three to six months in advance.
He continues: “It’s a very good sign for the travel industry that holidaymakers are not put off by the potential incontinence of extra security checks and restrictions and plan their own travel abroad on a day when there are such worries and delays.”
People travelling through UK airports have been subjected to rigid security checks following the arrests of several people for allegedly plotting to carry devices onto planes in hand luggage. Hand luggage is currently limited to essential items and must be carried in transparent bags so it can be easily checked by airport staff.