Vacationers can now reserve poolside loungers _ for a fee

Tour operator Thomas Cook is offering vacationers a chance to book a poolside sun lounger in advance — for a fee.

Thomas Cook customers willing to pay 25 euros ($31) extra per stay can select a lounger, avoiding the morning dash to put a towel on a sunbed to claim it for the day. The plan should cover 30 hotels by the summer.

British vacationers in southern Europe have long complained that diehard sun worshippers get up as soon as hotel pools open to claim a lounger — effectively taking a place even when they are not there.

Thomas Cook says the loungers will be displayed on a map featuring a compass to help people determine whether certain areas will be in the sun or shade at different times of day.

Only a proportion of loungers will be bookable.