Userpic

hawkfann1
Traveller
2 comments

Posted 6 months ago

Good Day...I am travelling via rail with three others on 10-October-2023 departing from Frankfurt Airport to Basel (SBB) with a 12-minute layover in Mannheim (Hbf). The itinerary states that we will be arriving from Frankfurt into platform five and departing to Basel from platform four. We will be travelling with one full size suitcase each. I have never taken a train in Europe and was wondering if this itinerary gives me enough time to safely transfer from one platform to another. Any and all advice will be much appreciated. Thanks!

Follow this topic
Userpic

MisterSteve
Traveller
896 comments

replied 6 months ago

5 and 4 are adjacent to each other so you could move from one train to another in less than 1 minute - assuming you are ready to get off when the train arrives. German long distance trains have developed punctuality problems in recent years so exact times may not apply! What time is your planned departure from the airport? And what time do expect to be ready to depart - you might have the option of an earlier departure wih a longer wait, the online journey planners usually default to fastest journey and not show those options.

Userpic

hawkfann1
Traveller
2 comments

replied 6 months ago

Mister Steve...We are scheduled to land at FRA at 5:55am and I was planning to book us on the 8:51am train from FRA to SBB (via Hbf) using BAHN. I figure that's more than enough time to get our luggage and be cleared through customs. My understanding is that the train from the airport to Mannheim is only 32 minutes with zero stops so I am not overly concerned with it running late (or should I be?). Also, if I buy the 8:51am ticket and am through customs earlier, am I able to get on an earlier train is there are seats available (there is one leaving the airport at 8:09am)?

Userpic

MisterSteve
Traveller
896 comments

replied 6 months ago

The connection for the 08:51 looks reasonable, if either train was going to be a little late it's more likely to be the second because of the distance it will have travelled to reach Mannheim.

There is a big difference in prices for flexible tickets, in 2nd class that will cost €103 to the Swiss main station in Basel (slightly cheaper if you get off at the german station north of the river). Tickets with fixed reservations can be 40-50% cheaper but can't be changed on the day of travel (these are shown as Sparpreis on german booking sites or Saver if booked in English). If you have a Eurail pass you can use any of the trains and without reservation. If you decide on a fixed train then choose the 08:51 - if you are really early for it go for breakfast at a bakers after clearing customs/immigration. Bear in mind that Frankfurt is a very large airport and has two railway stations, these trains go from the Fernbahnhof (long distance) which is further from the terminals than the Regionalbahnhof and if using Terminal 2 you need a shuttle connection to T1 first, allow 30 minutes from T2 to the Fernbahnhof.

If you are flying with a Lufthansa Group airline or partner and donlt have Eurail there is a better ticket offer via the airline, see https://www.bahn.de/service/informationen-buchung/bahn-flug/rail-and-fly-english the list of airlines is a PDF file at the bottom. These tickets are matched to the best connection for the flight but are flexible in case that doesn't work out.

Userpic

hawkfann1
Traveller
2 comments

replied 6 months ago

Mister Steve...Thanks again for your assistance. I tried to get the Fly and Rail option but if you don't buy that at the time of your flight purchase then you are out of luck. I am moving ahead with buying 4 tickets on the 8:51am departure, getting off at the station north of the river since our hotel is on that side. Once again, your help is greatly appreciated!

Userpic

MisterSteve
Traveller
896 comments

replied 6 months ago

Actually, looking at United's webiste it seems they haven't joined the Rail&fly deal despite being a Star Alliance company and on the DB list. You should be able to book at ticket to airport QYG which will appear as "any railway station in Germany" (which includes Basel as the border station). This gives you an ordinary flight ticket and a special price flexible train ticket. All they seem to offer is use of Lufthansa AirRail which something different and very restricted.

Userpic

nltrainer
Traveller
1334 comments

replied 6 months ago

Around half of all trains in DE at the mo are running late-and it means nothing if a trip is short or long-most of these ICE make very long trips from somewhere in the north to some place in the south-but quite a few even start late at start as the incoming train was that late already-o staff did not turn up or whatever. Advanatge then is that all these theories for ´fixed booking for fixed train=saver´ become invalid and you can take any train. Do not want to disturb you, it is what it is and how it works today says nothing about tomorrow.
Oh-but punctual timekeeping for trans atlantic flying is also a dream and very often disturbed.