Is Germany’s "Rail & Fly" a Good Deal?

Posted in: Budget Air Travel

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Deutsche Bahn Munich
Germany's "Rail & Fly" program allows you to cheaply add destinations to your trip. Photo: nicki-alex

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.

Low-cost no-go

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.

Do note that certain airlines restrict Rail & Fly bookings in connection with ultra short-haul flights between Germany and Amsterdam, Basel, Paris, Salzburg, Vienna, and Zurich.

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).

About the author

Hilary Bown

An academic by training, a writer by day, and a Cheapo by heritage, Hilary Bown's meagre means and insatiable travel appetite have helped her sharpen her "no-budget travel" skills across the European continent over the past decade. At home in Berlin or on an adventure abroad, you'll find her in sandals, riding the bus, reading novels while walking, drinking the local wine, writing out postcards with a felt-tip pen, and browsing the shelves of the supermarket and hardware store. Find her unique blend of travel adventure and tested advice at Less Than a Shoestring.

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