RIP Teletext Travel - The End of a Golden Age of Holiday Deals?

RIP Teletext Travel – The End of a Golden Age of Holiday Deals?

All good things, they say, must come to an end. For Teletext Travel – part of the old guard of analogue television text-based information services which included the BBC’s Ceefax – that end came as the incoming tide of shiny, new and interactive digital TV services saw the  decline of analogue TV as regional transmitters turned off the older broadcasting signal one by one.

TV text services – the internet of their time

For the generation who grew up in the age of analogue television broadcasting, TV text services were a valuable source of up-to-the-minute information that pre-dated the internet. Pressing the ‘Text’ button on your TV remote control (no red, green, yellow and blue buttons back in those days) brought up a screenful of blocky low-resolution text and graphics. Numbered ‘pages’ of text, selected by using the keypad on your remote control, delivered the latest news, sports scores, weather and, in the case of Teletext Travel, page after page of cheap holiday deals to (then) exotic destinations such as Greece, Malta, Portugal, the Spanish Costas and the Canary Islands.
As old fashioned as it may seem now, Teletext Holidays was a revolution in holiday purchasing for holidaymakers more used to traipsing into their local travel agents and picking up an armful of heavy holiday brochures. From the comfort of your own armchair you could watch as countless pages of bargain holidays flipped past on your TV screen – all you had to do was jot down a reference and phone a number and your Teletext Holiday deal was as good as booked.

Speed was the key to grabbing a good Teletext Travel holiday deal

Viewers of a certain age regard the inevitable passing of Teletext Travel with misty-eyed sadness and fond memories; the service was popular and for many was probably the preferred method of booking the annual family holiday. But, of course, the means of delivery of Teletext Travel’s holiday information was not without its problems – as Bolton comedian Peter Kay pointed out in a routine about his parents’ experiences of finding a holiday this way:
“Page 86 of 400 pages of holidays; and you’re just mesmerized by them all… that looks good – Corfu: half-board. What’s that stand for? Oh, hang on it’s changed now…that looks like a good ‘un – self-catering, Malta, fortnight – there you go (looks at the remote control in his hand) where’s ‘hold’ on here? Where’s hold? Hold? Quick! (increasingly panicked) Where’s hold on here?!…. Oh! It’s gone off now!”

2010 marks the end of the Teletext Travel we grew up with

The Teletext Travel TV service we knew and loved appeared on our telly screens from the mid-1990s up until its demise at the hands of digital broadcasting in 2010. TV text services still survive – for now at least – in the digital era, and the spirit of Teletext Travel lives on in the guise of Teletext Holidays in a new home on the internet where those same holiday bargains can now be found accompanied by fulsome holiday brochure-style descriptions, high-resolution photos that are a world away from the old-fashioned text-graphics of yore. But however whizzy, friendly, high-tech and convenient the new online Teletext Travel may be, for a generation of adults who sat in the glow of their old cathode ray tube television set (ask your parents, kids) with a pen and paper poised to scribble down holiday deal details as they fleetingly appeared on screen and dreamt of faraway beaches, the disappearance of Teletext Travel really did signal the end of a golden age of holiday deals.

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