THEY were the days when you could visit the Pyramids and still sleep in your own bed that night.

In the 1990s and 2000s, Bath Travel and its tour operator Palmair pioneered day trips to some surprisingly far-flung destinations.

That tradition is being revived this Easter, with two flights to what was always one of the most popular destinations, Venice.

Stephen Bath, former managing director of Bath Travel, said: “I am really delighted to be bringing the day trips back. Many thousands of people flew with us to more than 40 destinations.”

Palmair was set up in 1958 by Stephen Bath’s father Peter to offer flights to Majorca. Other destinations were added later.

The company established its own airline, Palmair Flightline, in 1993. The idea of day trips came up as a way of using the airline’s single aircraft on Wednesdays, when it had no flights scheduled.

A Tuesday trip to Venice in the summer 1996 started at £99 per person for three-and-a-half hours in the city, rising to £149 for seven hours.

In January 1999, the Daily Echo reported that Palmair had announced its biggest selection of day trips, including to Moscow, Lisbon and Madrid. There would be 4,500 seats available that year.

The Moscow trip cost £249. Up to 450 travellers will get the chance to visit Red Square and the Kremlin in a day and still return home in time to tell the neighbours all about it,” the report said.

The Moscow flight was on a Monarch Airlines Boeing 757, while other trips were on Palmair’s own BAE 146 Whisper Jet.

The trips went ahead that year despite growing diplomatic tensions over the situation in Kosovo.

For 2000, the range of destinations became even more varied.

Cairo was added to the schedule, with the 4,000 mile on the 747 taking five hours. There would be two tours back to back that April, visiting the Pyramids at Giza, the Nile ad the Egyptian Museum containing the treasures of Tutankhamun.

Palmair managing director David Skillicorn acknowledged that the Cairo excursion pushed to the of what was possible in a day trip.

“We are always on the lookout for new things to try, as are our clients, and this seemed like the obvious choice,” he aid.

“Cairo has a certain excitement about it, but t his is about as far as you could go in a day while building in a reasonable amount of time for sightseeing.”

The trips, which left at 5am and returned at 11pm, were on a programme that also included Marrakech, Iceland, Krakow, Riga, Siciliy, Berlin and Stockholm, as well as old favourites Barcelona, Venice and Prague.

Plans for day trips to Jerusalem that year were put on hold because of violence in the Middle East.

In November 2000, Palmair announced that it would be adding a visit to the Valley of the Kings at Luxor for the 2001 schedule. An even longer trip than Cairo, it would leave at 5am and return at midnight.

For those wanting to see the spot where Howard Carter found the tomb of King Tutankhamun, Stephen Bath warned: “This is one of the hottest places in the world and it hasn’t rained here for hundreds of years. The last time I was there the roads were melting.”

Also in the 2001 schedule were day trips to Leipzig featuring Colditz Castle, Krakow, Auschwitz, Salzburg and Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest at Berchtesgaden.

The public loved the trips, and their experience helped Palmair top the satisfaction league table compiled by Holiday Which? in 2003.

But the travel industry was becoming tougher, and in 2010 Palmair handed back its plane as it scaled back its holiday operations.

In 2015, Bath Travel was sold to Hays Travel and its travel agencies were rebranded. But people remembered the day trips fondly.

Launching the new Venice flights – with places available with through Hays Travel – Stephen Bath said: “For several years since we sold Bath Travel I have been asked to start special flights from Bournemouth, but I was not allowed to compete with the new owners, Hays Travel for three years.

“I have been invited by John Hays of Hays Travel to start up the trips and I have to say it’s great to be back.”