Facebook rant sparks holiday costs campaign

A 41 year old man was surprised when his “rant” on Facebook was shared over a hundred thousand times, and gained thousands of signatures for an online petition.

Paul Cookson, who has around 250 friends on the social networking site, posted a “rant” saying he was “sick to death” of being “ripped off” by travel companies who put their prices up for holidays booked outside of term time. He ended his post by asking people to share it if they had “also had enough” - and it appears that plenty of people felt the same way.

The post went viral, and has now been shared by over 143,000 people. Those who supported Paul’s cause also began signing an online petition calling for the government to take action on the issue, which has now gained well over the 100,000 signatures required for a possible parliamentary debate.

Cookson’s original post, titled “school holiday rant”, argued that parents are being “penalised” for trying to do the right thing by not taking their children out of school. When people started to show an interest, he also set up a Facebook group called Holiday Price Increases in which people shared their experiences with travel companies.

The e-petition was not set up by Cookson, but was shared in the Facebook group. It was originally started by Donna Thresher in March 2013, who was “outraged” at the £600 difference in the cost of a holiday for her family when taken during the school holidays.

Mr Cookson said that, while the petition may not be successful in securing the legislation it asks for, it could help to raise awareness and spark debate around the issue:

“The ideal is to work with the holiday companies directly to advise them on the business of reduced-priced holidays in these set times - it can be done.”