Bargain hunters camp outside travel agent for TWO DAYS to secure £49 return flights to Thailand (with one couple even quitting their jobs to get in line)

  • Travel firm STA offered the deal to the first few indivuduals to turn up at its offices in London and Birmingham
  • People began queuing outside the firm's central London office in Victoria on Tuesday to ensure they didn't miss out
  • Tickets went on sale this morning, with a further batch of return flights being offered for £299 for the next 49 in line

Bargain hunters braved rain, hail and thunderstorms as they camped out for up to 48 hours to ensure they snapped up £49 tickets to tropical Thailand.

Travel firm STA was offering the budget-priced return tickets to the holiday paradise to the first 49 people to turn up at its offices in Grosvenor Gardens, London, and Corporation Street in Birmingham.

Some even quit their jobs to get in the queue early so they didn't miss out when the bargain basement tickets went on sale this morning.

First in line: Waheed Khan, 30, from Elephant and Castle camped outside STA travel agents in Victoria, Central London, for over two days to grab £49 return flight tickets to Thailand. The deal is part of a promotion from the travel company

First in line: Waheed Khan, 30, from Elephant and Castle camped outside STA travel agents in Victoria, Central London, for over two days to grab £49 return flight tickets to Thailand. The deal is part of a promotion from the travel company

The determined individual, who was waiting with his girlfriend Sarah Thompson, 25, a veterinary student from North London, didn't seem to mind the queue

The determined individual, who was waiting with his girlfriend Sarah Thompson, 25, a veterinary student from North London, didn't seem to mind the queue

Donning pajamas or warm clothing and clutching hot water bottles, the crowds were determined to get their tickets to the popular Asian destination 

Donning pajamas or warm clothing and clutching hot water bottles, the crowds were determined to get their tickets to the popular Asian destination 

The incredible flash sale took place in two locations, in London and Birmingham. Pictured are Birmingham queue members Joe Alder, 21, Christie Gillatt, 21 and Dan Murphy, 21

The incredible flash sale took place in two locations, in London and Birmingham. Pictured are Birmingham queue members Joe Alder, 21, Christie Gillatt, 21 and Dan Murphy, 21

In the promotional deal, the first 49 would-be travellers were offered a £49 ticket to Bangkok, and the next 49 queuing customers could book a £299 return ticket for a £49 deposit on the day. 

Eager groups queued for hours outside the STA office in Victoria, with the first person in the queue arriving with his tent on Tuesday morning.

Waheed Khan, 30, a photography student at University Arts London, who was first in line, said: 'We camped out since around 11am on Tuesday morning.

'There were about two or three of us at first, but then it's grown. People have come and gone, of course.'

The determined individual, who was waiting with his girlfriend Sarah Thompson, 25, a veterinary student from North London, didn't seem to mind the queue.

Khan said: 'Going to Thailand is something my girlfriend and I have been wanting to do for a while. I think it's less about high flight prices and more about how much travellers love a good bargain.

'I love travelling and a lot of people in this queue do as well, so it's been quite fun, like a festival kind of atmosphere.'

Bargain hunters braved rain, hail and thunderstorms as they waited for up to 48 hours to ensure they snapped up the cheap tickets

Bargain hunters braved rain, hail and thunderstorms as they waited for up to 48 hours to ensure they snapped up the cheap tickets

The offer was only available to the first 49 customers through the doors of each of the stores. Pictured are resilient bargain hunters in Birmingham

The offer was only available to the first 49 customers through the doors of each of the stores. Pictured are resilient bargain hunters in Birmingham

Mollie Merrifield, 18, and her boyfriend Dan Jeffs, 19, even quit their jobs at McDonald's and Dominoes so they could join the queue. 

Mollie, a student in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, said: 'We both quit our jobs to come here today, because otherwise we wouldn't have been to make it on time.

'I was working in McDonalds. It's now exam season as well, so it was good timing really. They just didn't reply. We tried to explain.

'We have wanted to go for a long time. We are going to Bangkok and the Phi Phi islands. Lots of our friends have been there recently because of gap years and things.'

 Tickets went on sale this morning, with a further batch of return flights being offered for £299 for the next 49 in line

 Tickets went on sale this morning, with a further batch of return flights being offered for £299 for the next 49 in line

Success: Leon Cheny, aged 27 from London, camped overnight from Tuesday to take advantage of the STA Travel deal 

Success: Leon Cheny, aged 27 from London, camped overnight from Tuesday to take advantage of the STA Travel deal 

And it was touch and go for one young man who waited outside the travel agents overnight to got hold of the last £49 ticket, despite being around 50th in the queue for most of the time.

Lucky Gareth Jeffrey, 25, a tourism management student at Westminster Kingsway College, ended up getting the 49th and final ticket, despite starting off beyond the cut off point. 

Generous Gareth is going halves on tickets with girlfriend Georgie, 24, from Chalk Farm, who as number 50, would have picked up a £299 flight.

Gareth, who is originally from Scotland but lives in Camden, north London, said: 'There was a time at about 9pm last night when I thought about going home, but then there were rumours going round that someone was going to drop out.

'I don't know when it happened, but somehow I ended up as number 49. I am so glad I didn't give up now.' 

Georgie, who does shift work, said: 'It works out about £175 each for us, which for return flights is great.

'I guess it was a test of his love in a way. He wouldn't have got away with giving it to anybody else.'

Commitment: People started the line on Tuesday morning and settled in for the long wait outside the two STA shops

Commitment: People started the line on Tuesday morning and settled in for the long wait outside the two STA shops

Lucky: Saskia James, 18, from Barnet, north London, hoped to get one of the £299 tickets but ended up getting a £49 ticket that was given out in a raffle

Lucky: Saskia James, 18, from Barnet, north London, hoped to get one of the £299 tickets but ended up getting a £49 ticket that was given out in a raffle

Inside, tired and cold campers were treated to 10 minute Thai massages while they finalised the details of their flights.

But one queuing camper had an exceptionally lucky experience as she waited outside. Saskia James, 18, from Barnet, north London, who came with school pals Anna Hor, 18 and Anna Antoniades, was hoping to get her hands on one of the £299 tickets.

The trio arrived at 11pm on Wednesday night and at number 67, Saskia, who is on a gap year, had given up hope of getting a £49 ticket.

But just before the 9am opening, a raffle was drawn for one more £49 ticket, which she won.

Saskia said: 'It was a real bonus when we got this ticket. I am just going to split it with my friends so we all get cheaper tickets.

'We camped here together and it was cold, but we had a bottle of red wine. I wanted to go to Thailand because we have friends from school out there.' 

Inside, tired and cold campers were treated to 10 minute Thai massages while they waited to finalise the details of their flights

Inside, tired and cold campers were treated to 10 minute Thai massages while they waited to finalise the details of their flights

Worth the wait: This lady, clad in warm clothing, was the fourth in line in London to receive the low ticket fare in the flash sale

Worth the wait: This lady, clad in warm clothing, was the fourth in line in London to receive the low ticket fare in the flash sale

Staying cheerful: Two queue members huddle together to keep warm as they sit out the long wait for the tickets 

Staying cheerful: Two queue members huddle together to keep warm as they sit out the long wait for the tickets 

Successful individuals pose outside of a tuk tuk, which is commonly used for transportation in Thailand, outside the Birmingham store

Successful individuals pose outside of a tuk tuk, which is commonly used for transportation in Thailand, outside the Birmingham store

Happy campers: Although it was a long wait, many of the gathered crowds appeared to be in high spirits at the prospect of the cheap fares

Happy campers: Although it was a long wait, many of the gathered crowds appeared to be in high spirits at the prospect of the cheap fares

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