Joan Collins DELAYS, lost luggage and overbooking (overselling of tickets) are the main complaints of airline passengers according to a Europe-wide poll of 8'600 passengers, carried out by the Organisation for Consumers and Users (OCU). The OCU spokesperson, Ileana Izverniceanu, said that the study also found that the main complaint in airports is “the high prices in the shops, restaurants and car parks”. Users of these services said that they could be improved in aspects such as “cleanliness of the toilets and help given by airport staff”. Izverniceanu said that, “passengers would also like the information panels to be more efficient”. As for the airlines, she explained that, according to this poll, “one in every four aircraft taking off arrives late at its destination”. She added that, of these flights, ”some 28 percent are delayed by two hours, and six percent by over five hours”. But delays are not the only pitfall which awaits passengers as “some seven percent of the passengers questioned had had problems with their luggage, it had either been lost or damaged”. Apart from luggage, the spokesperson highlighted overbooking as the other main problem which travellers suffered and which affected one percent of those questioned. “Of these, only four in every ten have received the compensation to which they are legally entitled under European law, apart from a meal and access to a fax and telephone which the airline is obliged to give them”, she added. One thing which stands out from the OCU study is the rise in the purchase of tickets over the Internet. “Spain is the country with the highest percentage of people buying their tickets over the Internet”, said Izverniceanu. In spite of this advance, she said that “after checking and visiting webpages for cheap domestic flights, charter flights, and travel agents on the net”, it has been shown that “the price shown is not the price paid by the passenger when they buy”. She went on to say that, “basic information is being hidden which can increase the price by up to double the one shown on the screen”. Finally, Inzverniceanu reminded consumers that when they are victims of overbooking, damaged or lost luggage, “they should complain”. “There are two types of claim form available to passengers, one from the airline and one from the airport; they can claim on both but, above all, when they are victims of overbooking they should be aware that they should get immediate financial compensation, they don't have to wait until they have rung the travel agency, they should receive it without needing to leave the airport”, she said. The consumer advice and warnings came on the eve of the May Day long weekend with over six million people expected to travel across Spain with the Balearics one of the top destinations again with 94 percent of Spaniards opting to spend the long weekend in the country as opposed to travelling oversaes. The region was one of the most popular domestic destinations for the Spanish over Easter. Airport and ports are braced for the increase in traffic and passengers with extra staff and services in place.