STAFF REPORTER PALMA

A Balearic government survey has shown that 96 percent of air travellers reject the idea of having to pay separately for one suitcase that has to be checked in to the hold of the aircraft.

The regional ministry for Health and Consumer Affairs reported yesterday that those interviewed believed that under Spanish and European Union law, it was an air traveller's right to have the cost of one suitcase included in the price of the ticket. Separately, 91 percent of those interviewed also rejected the suggestion that they should have to pay the airline company for printing passengers' boarding passes at airport check-in desks.

The survey was conducted by the Balearic ministry to find out how travellers view the air transport services they receive in the region. Around 500 interviews were held during November and December last year. The results of the research showed that passengers are generally well-informed about their rights and what they can, and cannot claim from the airline.

A major part of those polled said that it was important to have an establishment on the airport premises that people could go to in the event of the need to demand entitlement.

The Consumer department said that setting up such facilities at airports would mean that difficulties that passengers experienced whilst travelling were much more likely to be resolved at source. Such a service, the department said, would also promote the concept of the airline being obliged to satisfy customer rights as opposed to leaving passengers to believe they have to “do battle” with the airline to get what is essentially theirs by right.

As a result of the survey, the Consumer department has set up a series of measures such as keeping a watch on check-in and embarkation procedures at airports, and envisages setting up installations at Palma airport to deal with on-the-spot passenger complaints.

Meanwhile, an Air Transport conference is to be held next Wednesday in Palma to promote collaboration between airline companies, clients and consumer associations, ultimately aimed at improving service.