This year Balearic air travellers have filed a total 142 complaints with the Ministry for Health and Consumer Affairs in Palma, with the four main complaints being about airline ticket purchase problems, on board deficiencies, boarding problems and luggage collection. But the main common complaint is about the long, tiring and painstaking waits passengers have been forced to endure because of flight delays. The number of complaints received this year is down on the 188 made in 1999 - but this year's figure released on Christmas Eve only accounts for complaints up to December 20, the Christmas and New Year period is not included and come the New Year, the number of complaints for the year 2000 is expected to show an increase on last year. While all the airlines offer unhappy clients with a beef a complaints book, in most cases such action does little to solve the problem or calm the passenger. This year there have been a large number of problems caused by flight “overbooking”, especially on domestic flights to the mainland, with passengers finding that too many tickets have been sold for their flight. Airlines have been heavily criticised for their ticket sales behaviour and the so-called “domino effect” the practice causes, with passengers being unable to catch their desired flight and often losing their connecting flight from a mainland airport. However, new European Union consumer legislation to be introduced in the New Year will make airlines and airports far more accountable to their passengers - who in turn will have more rights as Brussels takes steps to end airline malpractice with air travellers having to suffer the consequences in silence.

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