Nearly half of commuters avoid public transport over hygiene and cleanliness fears

Nearly half of commuters avoid public transport over hygiene and cleanliness fears

The study of 1,110 adults who use public transport for work also found 51 per cent have chosen a more expensive commute in order to avoid germs.

And the same number have a ‘preferred regular spot’ they use on public transport each day, for hygiene reasons.

Nearly eight in 10 (79 per cent) will also deliberately avoid holding on to handrails when on a bus, train or tube.

A spokesperson from Puressentiel, which commissioned the study, said, “Whilst

many of us have adapted and improved our commuting hygiene practices since the pandemic, from our research, we’ve seen that some are still unnecessarily contaminating their homes and others unbeknownst to them from their commute.

“The dangers of pollution outside aren’t new revelations, but many are still unaware of the dangers found indoors.

“In the UK 38 per cent use air fresheners to keep indoors air clean and 46 per cent burn candles.

“These cosmetic measures only add to the problem, it is far more important to address the root causes, improve air flow and adopt measures which remove or neutralise these indoor pollutants.

“The dangers of pollution outside aren’t new revelations, but many are still unaware of the dangers found indoors.”

The research also found 55 per cent avoid holding on to escalator handrails to lower their chances of picking up germs.

However, more than one in five (22 per cent) would not avoid a busy commute if they had a cough or cold, with 21 per cent of these saying they do not avoid touching grab rails on trains or tubes.

This could explain why 14 per cent of all those polled claim to wear disposable gloves during their commutes.

More than two thirds (67 per cent) said they are so concerned with personal hygiene they take a shower or bath when they get home.

This sentiment was further demonstrated as 69 per cent strongly believe you should not sit in or on the bed with outdoor clothes.

By contrast, 11 per cent conceded to not taking their outdoor shoes off when they get through the front door.

Footwear seemed to be a hot button issue, as 30 per cent said they would be offended if asked to remove their shoes in someone else’s home.

Almost one in six (15 per cent) admitted to not washing their hands when they get in, and 25 per cent feel it is unnecessary to change clothes when returning home from a busy commute.

A report from the European Lung Foundation identifies more than 900 different compounds found in indoor pollution, with some irritants occurring at levels two to five times higher than the air outside.

Helping to tackle unavoidable indoor pollution, laboratory research found that Puressentiel Purifying Air Spray reduced the number of viable cells of four common bacteria, including staphylococcus and E-coli, by a factor of 100,000.

The spokesperson added: “Although hygiene habits differ from person to person, we’re committed to raising awareness of indoor pollution and sharing ways this can be easily combated to improve our own health and those around us. ”

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Everything you need to know about travel disruption in Germany next week

Everything you need to know about travel disruption in Germany next week

Frankfurt Airport (FRA) is warning of a “massive disruption” to air travel this coming Monday after officials confirmed a 24-hour walkout.

As Germany’s largest airport — serving 250 destinations with more than 80 airlines — it’s likely to affect flights within Europe and worldwide.

Monday’s action is just one part of a national dispute over staff pay at airports across Germany. It is set to coincide with Munich International Airport’s (MUC) closure for commercial air travel March 26 and 27. There will be a double whammy of strikes on public transport Monday, as rail union EVG has also given the go-ahead for strikes.

Here’s everything you need to know.

Why is the strike happening?

Monday’s planned standoff is the latest in many workforce disputes affecting travel. Led by Ver.di labor union — representing everyone from baggage handlers to airport security in Germany — representatives have been asking for a fair pay raise to reflect skyrocketing national inflation and an uptick in living costs.


Because aviation and airport bosses have been unwilling to meet these demands, strategically staged walkouts have crippled air travel across the country numerous times this year. Often, the walkouts affect multiple airports at once.

Earlier this month, hundreds of flights were axed at four German airports — Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden Airport (FKB), Cologne Bonn Airport (CGN), Dusseldorf International Airport (DUS) and Stuttgart Airport (STR) — after staff walkouts over pay. Similar action occurred at airports in Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg this month.

Union bosses hope a one-day strike at Germany’s biggest airport might speed up negotiations.

What are the chances of making my flight at Frankfurt?

Slim, but not impossible. In previous weeks plenty of flights have operated at airports hampered by strike days. However, these events have led to increases in security wait times and delays in takeoff times. So even if your flight looks OK on paper, remain vigilant.

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Germany’s flagship carrier Lufthansa is predominantly based out of Frankfurt and will bear the brunt of the chaos. It will likely suffer more cancellations and delays than any other outfit. With international giants, such as American Airlines, running multiple services to Frankfurt, the forthcoming 24-hour action will also have implications on the other side of the Atlantic.

Are other German airports affected?

Frankfurt acts as the biggest connecting hub for domestic and international travelers in Germany. So, the disruption at Frankfurt will certainly cause ripple effects at other airports.

If you have plans to fly to or from other airports on your way to Frankfurt, you may want to seek guidance from your airline in case of cancellations closer to travel time.

Additionally, don’t rule out further strike action at other airports. On March 22 and 23, Hamburg Airport (HAM) was crippled by a bout of similar industrial action. In something of a planned domino effect, walkouts at Munich are set to follow this Sunday and Monday before staff members at Frankfurt join the picket line themselves.

What should I do if I think my plans are affected?

Don’t panic. If there’s a whiff of trouble, your airline should already be taking measures to contact you and let you know that cancellations are expected. Keep tabs on your email inbox, text messages and the app.

There’s no harm in checking with the company on Twitter or by phone if you think your travel will be affected by a strike. Remember that you should be fully covered for a refund if your chosen airline can’t rebook you on another flight.

However, travel insurance is a pretty gray area regarding strikes because they’re very much a “foreseeable” disruption. Read up on the small print of your insurance policy and check out this guide on insurance coverage you may have with your credit card. If you’re based in the United Kingdom, check out this in-depth guide.

Should I be wary of anything else?

Absolutely. If you’re traveling in Germany next Monday, expect a wave of union strikes over pay to cause cancellations on buses, trains and trams as well.

Deutsche Bahn is just one operator already warning of disruption and has canceled all of its long-distance trains for March 27. Regional services are also likely to face plenty of cuts.

This strike will affect 230,000 staff members nationwide for EVG. Ver.di, which counts over 2.5 million staff members, will ask many of its followers to stand down from their stations. As a result, it’s feared that Monday’s mass strike action could also spill over into the preceding days.

If you’re traveling across Europe on a business trip (perhaps with multiple stop-offs in financial hubs like Frankfurt), be aware that strikes are occurring across the continent. This could affect your travel in a major way.

For example, neighboring France has seen millions take to the streets in protest over government plans to increase the age for retirement. This ongoing strife has correlated with strikes in practically every aspect of public transport — ranging from air traffic controller walkouts to train operators bringing their services to a grinding halt.

Stay prepared for last-minute changes by always checking the situation on the ground before you travel.

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Flight tax cut sparks surge in new UK domestic flights

Flight tax cut sparks surge in new UK domestic flights

Crisis, what aviation crisis? For the airline industry, the last weekend in March marks the start of the summer season: traditionally the time when new routes are launched.

Three years ago the vast majority of flights had been grounded at the start of the Covid pandemic, with airports silent and fears of widespread bankruptcies among carriers.

Yet with the surge of post-lockdown demand unabated, this year will see more than 100 new and restored air routes from and within the UK – including a wide range of new domestic air routes on Ryanair.

The budget airline is expanding its network linking England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland because of the impending cut in the tax on domestic flights.

Chief executive Michael O’Leary said: “The halving of APD [Air Passenger Duty] on domestic flights from April 2023 has allowed Ryanair to add more domestic routes to our UK schedule.”

On Saturday 1 April, Air Passenger Duty on flights within the UK will fall from £13 to £6.50. But the additional flights and incentive to move from rail to air has caused dismay among transport campaigners and environmentalists who believe there is too much flying already.

What’s happening?

Millions of airline passengers are set to benefit from a cut in the tax on flying for trips within the UK. From the start of April, Air Passenger Duty on domestic flights is to be halved.

The decision was announced by Rishi Sunak while he was chancellor. Ministers say the aim is “to further bolster links within the UK” and that a corresponding increase in tax for very long flights “aligns Air Passenger Duty more closely with the government’s environmental objectives”.

Overall, passengers will collectively benefit to the tune of £58m in tax each year that the government is giving up.

But transport and environment campaigners are outraged, saying it will encourage a switch from rail to air – just when the move should be in the opposite direction.

What’s the likely effect of the cut in tax?

When air fares fall, more people fly. Some will make extra journeys while others will switch to air from terrestrial transport, whether that is rail, road or sea. The main beneficiaries will be passengers flying between Edinburgh and London, the key intercity link in the UK.

British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair are expecting an increase in demand as passengers move from the train to the plane.

More broadly, travellers from Scotland and Northern Ireland heading for England and Wales, or vice versa, will see lower fares and more choice.

People who won’t notice any difference are those on Public Service Obligation routes such as Stansted to City of Derry and London City to Dundee, as well as under-16s, who don’t pay any tax. And anyone beginning a journey of any length from Inverness in northern Scotland also avoids Air Passenger Duty.

Are there new domestic routes?

Yes. As tax on flying falls, airlines are incentivised to launch new routes. Ryanair – Europe’s biggest budget airline – is hugely expanding its UK domestic network because of the tax cut, with seven new links including Edinburgh to Bournemouth, Belfast International to Cardiff and London Stansted to Newquay. The Cornish airport is also the target of Eastern Airways, with a link from East Midlands, and Aer Lingus – which will be flying down from Belfast City.

While a link from Belfast City to Newquay is an example of a very quick flight replacing a very long journey by sea and land, the tax cut will primarily benefit domestic passengers on routes with loads of alternatives, primarily between Edinburgh and London.

Who’s objecting?

Many campaigners. Anna Hughes, Director of Flight Free UK, said: “It’s hard to see how an increase in flights is in line with the government’s environmental objectives. Making air travel cheaper – already a significantly under-taxed form of transport – will only encourage people to take more flights.

“We have just had the clearest warning yet from the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] that emissions need to be brought down rapidly and urgently across all sectors, and that includes aviation.

“Investing that £58m on improved, affordable rail services would be a game-changer for low-carbon travel in the UK. Instead, the government has squandered it in favour of encouraging more people to fly between London and Edinburgh – already the busiest flight route in Britain, and one that is well connected by train.”

Mark Smith, the international rail guru who runs the website, says: “This makes a mockery of the government’s environmental credentials. It almost looks as if they want us to switch from rail to air.

“Airlines pay no duty on aviation fuel, so they already receive a huge hidden subsidy. And as short-haul flights are the ones most easily replaceable with a train ride, it makes no sense to lower tax on these whilst raising it on longer-distance flights where there are fewer alternatives other than not to travel.”

What is happening with long-haul flights?

A new higher-tax band applies for flights to countries whose capitals are over 5,500 miles from London. That includes the key Asian hubs of Bangkok, Hong Kong. Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Anyone sitting in anything better than basic economy will pay £200 to leave the UK – that means £1,000 for a family of five in premium economy to get to Egypt or Florida. For Scottish travellers, there will be a strong incentive to begin such journeys from Inverness rather than Glasgow, Edinburgh or Aberdeen.

For people who are intent on flying, what are the most interesting new air links?

London Gatwick has plenty: four Indian cities, including Kochi and Goa; a new South American destination, Georgetown in Guyana; Prestwick in southwest Scotland to Marseille and Pisa; Bristol to Enfidha in Tunisia; and London Stansted to Vigo in northwest Spain.

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State Department overhauls passport process for flood of Americans returning to foreign travel

State Department overhauls passport process for flood of Americans returning to foreign travel

The State Department is beefing up its passport operation in response to soaring demand for U.S. passports.

The department is receiving around 500,000 passport applications weekly, Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently told a House Appropriations panel.

The current waiting time to receive a passport is 10 to 13 weeks, with expedited passports being available in seven to nine weeks. Spring and summer are typically the peak season for passport applications.

“Historically, the demand’s been cyclical, the busy season is kind of March to late summer. Basically, it’s full-time now,” Mr. Blinken said.

The wait time begins once the application is received at a passport office and does not include the mailing time. It can take two weeks for an application to reach a passport center, and two more weeks for a passport to be mailed back.

The current level of demand is 30% to 40% higher than at the same time last year, which officials attribute to receding worries about COVID-19 and pandemic travel restrictions.

“Our passport team members nationwide contribute tens of thousands of hours of overtime a month to issue the millions of passports sought by traveling Americans. We have opened a satellite office to help process the large number of applications we are receiving,” the State Department said in a statement Friday.

There were 22 million passports issued in FY 2022, a new record, and 2023 is projected to surpass that mark.

For renewals, an online pilot was launched in 2022 but was subsequently paused on March 8. More than 500,000 people used the online service to renew their passports and a nationwide full release of the online renewal application is expected later in 2023.

Once the online renewal is fully implemented, Mr. Blinken said he expects 65% of Americans will renew their passports online.

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Woman carried off airport tarmac after scratching police following fight on flight

Woman carried off airport tarmac after scratching police following fight on flight

A woman who scratched and fought police officers who had come to escort her off a Frontier Airlines flight after she became involved in a brawl with another passenger is facing a host of charges.

Social media footage shows a Texas woman on a flight at Miami International Airport on Wednesday (22 March) arguing and threatening another traveller.

The plane was destined for Philadelphia when the pair became embroiled in an argument.

“I’m whatever you want,” the woman can be seen telling the man. “I’ll beat you the f**k up. What you trying to be on?

“One thing, I’m going to rock your s**t,” she continued, leaning around another passenger who was trying to diffuse the situation.

“If you’re real, show me what’s up. I’m going to beat you the f**k up on this s**t, I guarantee you, I guarantee you.”

According to local media, she was eventually escorted off the plane by police officers.

After being informed she was under arrest, the woman is alleged to have started “pushing, pulling and tensing” and driving her fingernails into an officer’s elbow, causing scratches.

Video footage captured by a fellow passenger shows the woman being carried off the tarmac towards a police car by four officers.

The woman is reportedly now facing charges for battery on a police officer, resisting an officer with violence, and three misdemeanours for assaulting an officer, and another for trespassing.

A spokesperson for Frontier Airlines told The Independent: “On Wednesday 22 March, during the boarding process for Flight 2326 from Miami to Philadelphia, two customers got into a verbal altercation which resulted in one of the customers being asked to deplane.

“Upon her refusal, assistance was requested from local law enforcement.”

The footage is just the latest in a series of air rage incidents taking place on flights.

A man on a recent Southwest Airlines flight in Dallas told another passenger that he would “sit down in jail for you approaching my family” after accusing the man of “approaching my family aggressively”.

According to reports, both men were removed from the plane, but no arrests were made.

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Better together: Why the Ink Business Preferred and the Ink Business Cash are a great pair

Better together: Why the Ink Business Preferred and the Ink Business Cash are a great pair

Like peanut butter and jelly or Bonnie and Clyde, some credit cards are just better together. Doubling up can give you more redemption options or bonus categories that complement each other.

Today, we’re diving into an iconic credit card pair: the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card and the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card.

Comparing the Ink Business Preferred and Ink Business Cash

Benefit details Ink Business Preferred Ink Business Cash
Sign-up bonus 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first three months after account opening. $750 cash back after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
Annual fee $95. None.
Earning rates 3 points per dollar spent on the first $150,000 spent each account anniversary year on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services and advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines.

1 point per dollar spent on everything else.

5% cash back at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year.

2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year.

1% cash back on everything else.

Best redemption options Transfer to partners at a 1:1 ratio (TPG values points at 2 cents each).

Chase travel portal (1.25 cents each).

Cash back and gift cards (1 cent each).

Chase travel portal, cash back and gift cards (1 cent each).
Standout benefits Employee cards at no additional cost.

Extended warranty protection, purchase protection and cellphone protection.

Trip cancellation/interruption insurance and auto rental collision damage waiver.

Employee cards at no additional cost.

Extended warranty protection and purchase protection.

Auto rental collision damage waiver.

For more details, check out our full review of the Ink Business Cash Credit Card and the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card.

Related reading: The power of the Chase trifecta

Why pair the Ink Business Cash and the Ink Business Preferred cards

Seeing their perks listed side by side, you may already have realized why the Ink Business Cash Credit Card and the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card are a great pair, but let’s break it down.

Turn your cash-back into points

If you already have the Ink Business Cash, you can add redemption options and boost your redemption rates by adding Ink Business Preferred to your wallet. This is because cash-back rewards earned by the Ink Business Cash Card can be converted to Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you have a card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points.


By converting the cash-back rewards on your Ink Business Cash to Ultimate Rewards points on the Ink Business Preferred, you increase the rate at which you can redeem through the Chase travel portal from one cent per point to 1.25 cents per point. And you unlock 1:1 transfers to hotel and airline partners, such as Hyatt and United.

Related reading: How to maximize your Chase Ultimate Rewards points

Boost your earning on office supplies, internet and gas

If you already have the Ink Business Preferred, you can boost your Chase Ultimate Rewards earning rate without incurring additional annual fees by adding the no-annual-fee Ink Business Cash to your wallet.

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If your business doesn’t spend money at office supply stores or on internet, cable and phone services, and already earns more than a 4% return at gas stations and restaurants, the Ink Business Cash Card won’t be particularly useful. However, most businesses that already have the Ink Business Preferred Card will find that adding the Ink Business Cash Card to their wallet will increase their earnings.

Related reading: The best cards for each business credit card category


Add the Ink Business Unlimited: Many businesses with ample non-bonus-category spending may find it useful to also add the no-annual-fee Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card to their wallet to earn 1.5% cash-back rewards on every purchase (which can become 1.5 Ultimate Rewards points when paired with a card that earns Ultimate Rewards points).

Add a no-annual-fee personal card: It may make sense to add no-annual-fee Ultimate Rewards consumer cards such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited® or Chase Freedom Flex℠ to your wallet once you have the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card. This is especially true if you’ll use these cards for business expenses or don’t mind transferring rewards earned on your personal spending to your business card’s Ultimate Rewards account.


Skip the Ink Business Preferred Card: If you already have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you may choose to forgo the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card and just collect rewards earned on your Ink Business Cash Card in your personal card’s Ultimate Rewards account.

Consider Chase’s 5/24 rule: One final consideration is where you stand with Chase’s 5/24 rule. This rule means you generally won’t be approved for most Chase-issued cards if you’ve opened five or more personal credit cards across all banks in the last 24 months. Although you’re unlikely to be approved for most Chase-issued cards if you are over 5/24, Chase-issued business cards don’t count toward your 5/24 count. As a result, it’s generally best to open the Chase-issued business cards you want first before moving on to other cards.

Related reading: What to do after you reach 5/24

Bottom line

The Ink Business Preferred and the Ink Business Cash are strong enough alone to make our list of best business credit cards, but they’re even better when paired together. By holding both in your wallet, you can earn more points and have more valuable redemption options than you would with just one of them. Once you add this pair to your business card strategy, don’t be surprised if it becomes your new favorite duo.

Related guides

Related reading:

Apply here for the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card and the Ink Business Cash Credit Card

Additional reporting by Emily Thompson.

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