Almost four months in development, the new EasyJet Holidays vertically integrated tour operator went live today.
Low cost carrier EasyJet is hoping the new service will put it alongside the likes of Thomas Cook, TUI-run Thomson Holidays and Expedia in the package holiday market across Europe.
Central to the new system is the integration of accommodation from the Lowcostbeds bedbank with the vast EasyJet air route network around Europe, giving what is being touted as at least five million holiday options.
EasyJet is expecting to launch the new service officially next week, although Teletext Holidays has been selling holidays "exclusively" for around six days.
The EasyJet Holidays service has been around for a number of years, using hotel stock from TUI-owned Hotelopia, but the new system will create protected package holidays for customers and have a wider range of accommodation options.
The previous hotel partnership also concentrated mainly on beach accommodation, but Lowcostbeds adds wider options for city hotels.
The site was built by UK-based Intuitive Systems, using its tour operating software iVector. The company already powers the technology behind Lowcostbeds and Lowcostholidays.
The background to EasyJet's move is interesting: Thomas Cook is starting to push its European online travel agency and Expedia continues to consolidate its position in recent years with the addition of the Southern Europe-focused Venere accommodation provider.
EasyJet arch rival Ryanair, however, has so far avoided the package holiday route, preferring to partner with hotel stock providers (currently Booking.com) for an ancillary sale.
EasyJet also has its other ancillary providers in the shape of Hostelworld for budget accommodation and Viator for destination activity sales.