AIRTOURS Holidays is stripping out in-flight meal
prices on standard short-haul packages and renewing nil flight supplements and
free child places in a hard-sell for early 2004 bookings for a second year.

In last year’s initial early-booking drive it booked
300,000 extra passengers by Christmas, claiming market share of 50% in August
and September for 2003 sales.

But MyTravel UK deputy chief operating officer Steve
Endacott said this year would be tougher. “We do not expect to have it so easy
this year but we still want a high share of the early-booking period.”

Second-edition brochures are offering in-flight meals
for £10 return for adults and £5 return for children in a move that copies
Thomson’s 2003 strategy which it criticised as “cutting corners”. Airtours said
its criticisms were aimed at Thomson’s decision to strip out transfers rather
than meals. It admitted Thomson had been “half right” and said transfers would
remain part of its package price.

Airtours Holidays sales and commercial director Steve Barrass
said: “Research shows transfers are an integral part of the package.”