Is Germany’s "Rail & Fly" a Good Deal?
Saving money on plane tickets and German rail travel simultaneously sounds almost too good to be true, but Deutsche Bahn’s Rail & Fly program is an excellent way to do both. Savvy travelers may use the opportunity to spend one day visiting a different German city before heading on to their intended destination.
Here’s a quick overview of how the program works:
Deutsche Bahn has signed agreements with numerous airlines, allowing them to sell flat-rate tickets from any German city with a major airport to any destination within Germany of your choosing and vice versa. The full list of partner airlines is available on their website.
Rail & Fly tickets may be used for train travel the day of or day after arrival in Germany, and similarly the day before or day of departure.
The price – €29 one-way, €58 round-trip – is the lowest sale price offered by Deutsche Bahn and therefore nearly unbeatable. While the tickets must be booked in advance, they are easily added either at the time of booking or after purchase through a separate link on the airline’s website.
When should you use it?
The relative flexibility of the travel conditions combined with the robust German train network means even transatlantic visitors (flying partner airlines) should consider purchasing discounted airfares to alternative airports in the country and connecting over land.
And for some an additional perk: This option offers the opportunity to visit another city or region for nearly two days before traveling to your next (or final) port of call.
Unfortunately, few low-cost airlines participate in this program. Those taking discount flights in Europe may want to consider this advantage when comparing fares from non-participants Ryanair and easyJet with airlines offering the Rail & Fly option, including airberlin, Germanwings, Condor, and TUIFly.
Crossing the Atlantic, travelers will want to consider this option on fares from airberlin, American Airlines, Lufthansa, Icelandair, and US Airways, among others (check the full list above).