Frankfurt to Achen travel by train

Jun 5th, 2017, 07:28 PM
  #1  
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Frankfurt to Achen travel by train

Hello, my brother is attending a conference in Achen at the end of June. He will be flying into Frankfurt from Dallas and travel to Achen from there by train. Neither of us have ever traveled in Germany so I am reaching out for any advice and recommendations you could spare. We imagine it would be best not to book his train ticket ahead of time, in case his flight from US is delayed or his bag ends up on a later flight or something like that? We are also wondering what the best way is to get from the Frankfurt airport to the train station? and if there are many train options between the two cities or just one? If there is more than one option, then which is best to choose? My brother is a professor, so he is not on a student budget He will be taking the train back to Frankfurt a few days later once his conference is over. Many thanks in advance for any education and suggestions you can offer us!
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Jun 5th, 2017, 07:49 PM
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>>> We imagine it would be best not to book his train ticket ahead of time, in case his flight from US is delayed or his bag ends up on a later flight or something like that?

"Best" in terms of what? This is an expected value computation if he is using his own money. But if he is on travel expense account, then does not the expense become irrelevant? This is usually the reason for this question. If he traveling on someone else's money, then just buy whatever train he can make it. If he is traveling on his own money, then buying ahead would save quite a bit of money. Combine this with a probability of missing a train, you get an expected value of the cost. You can end up way ahead or more than just buying the last minutes tickets. If "Best" means fastest on ICE, it is quite costly. Look at www.bahn.com

>> We are also wondering what the best way is to get from the Frankfurt airport to the train station?

On foot. The train station is AT THE airport. This is not USA. Most other countries have integrated transportation infrastructures together.

>>> and if there are many train options between the two cities or just one? If there is more than one option, then which is best to choose?

"Best" in terms of what? Here are some answers on same route: http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...rt-airport.cfm

>>> My brother is a professor
hmmm. But does not know how to do web searches for info?
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Jun 5th, 2017, 11:52 PM
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First: Please note that the city's name is spelled Aachen (I assume it's the university city west of Cologne where the conference takes place, not a village in the Vosges hills?) This is important when looking up train connections.

Look up trains on www.bahn.com as linked above. Enter the airport code FRA as point of departure. The full name of the long distance station at the airport is "Frankfurt Flughafen Fernbahnhof". The fastest connections include the high-speed ICE route to Cologne. With a standard fare ticket (flex fare) he is free to use any train on that or the following day. So if money isn't an issue, buying a standard fare ticket is the best thing to do. This can be done in advance online or on the spot, the price is the same. The only advantage of buying online is that he won't have to struggle with ticket machines upon arrival.
I'd also get a seat reservation for the train he is most likely to catch, perhaps even a second one for the next connection an hour later.

And greg, I know enough professors who are perfectly helpless when it comes to computer things. But perhaps he is simply very busy and the OP offered her help.
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Jun 6th, 2017, 01:19 AM
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you may find the information in this thread useful;

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...rt-airport.cfm
hetismij2 is offline  
Jun 6th, 2017, 05:33 AM
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It's actually easy to transfer from flight to train in Frankfurt. The signs are fairly clear, it's not a long walk. It is almost certainly going to be more expensive to buy a ticket on arrival, so you may find that it's just as cheap to purchase a nonrestricted ticket online so you can jump on any train. You don't need reservations but can make them (and this sometimes helps if it's a busy time ... lots of the seats on our train were reserved, so we had to walk a couple of cars to find something open).
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Jun 6th, 2017, 05:38 AM
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Off topic: nice to see you are still around Doug!
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Jun 9th, 2017, 01:31 AM
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Dear greg, thank you for taking the time to respond and for pointing out my failures to be explicit! I had no intention of being irritating and am grateful that you chose to help me in spite of the feeling of annoyance that comes through your reply. Thank you very much for the links that you sent. To answer your questions:

1) Unlike folks in the private industry, public university professors (with specialties outside the more glamorous fields like medicine and law) don’t see expense as irrelevant just because they’re not paying out of pocket. Their limited funding often comes from tax payer dollars and is to be spent in the most responsible way.

2) In the context of transportation infrastructure, I feel and share your disappointment in how behind the US is overall, but my question was reasonable nonetheless. I have had several experiences in France and Italy where I’ve had to pay for transportation from the airports to the train stations and in all cases I had more than one option to pick from. On the other hand, I happen to live in a part of the US where the train happens to have a station inside the airport, so I have often transitioned on foot on the US side.

3) My brother (and most younger professors in this day and age) can do web searches just fine, but I still find it perfectly OK to help him out when I have more time than he does. He has full time teaching/ research/ advising/ administrative roles at his job and is also a new and very sleep-deprived father on the home front, so, to me, reaching out to the Fodor’s community on his behalf seemed like a perfectly fine thing to do. I hope people tend to help each other out just the same where you are too!
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Jun 9th, 2017, 01:33 AM
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Dear quokka, thank you very much for the correct spelling. I should have checked before posting. Your assumption is absolutely correct and the information you provided was very clear and helpful. Thank you very much for your time and attention!
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Jun 9th, 2017, 01:33 AM
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Dear hetismij2, thank you very much for the thread.
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Jun 9th, 2017, 01:34 AM
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Dear neckervd, thank you very much for the links you sent.
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Jun 9th, 2017, 01:34 AM
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Dear doug_stallings, the information you provided from experience is really helpful. Thank you very much for your time and attention!
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Jun 23rd, 2017, 01:42 PM
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Hello all,

We explored all your links and would be very grateful if you could answer our questions:

1) My brother is tempted to wait and buy (on location) a specific (nonflex) ticket based on arrival time, and use the difference (flex vs. nonflex) to bump up a class. Based on your experience and the information below, what are your thoughts on that?

2) He is arriving on a Sunday morning, flight arrival time 9am, guessing he'll catch an 11am train after immigration and customs. Do you think it will be any different on a Sunday, buying a ticket on location? Offices closed? Limited ticket sale hours? Rate difference? Anything else?

b) When it comes to buying on location vs. internet, is there or is there not a difference in price? In the above comments, greg and doug mentioned buying ahead would save quite a bit of money and quokka said that the price for a purchase in advance online or on the spot is the same.

Many many thanks!!!

Sonia
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Jun 23rd, 2017, 10:54 PM
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The price for FLEX (standard fare) tickets is the same when buying on the spot. That's what I referred to above.

The non-flexible discount fares must be bought in advance, they are not available on the spot. In theory they can be bought until one day before travel date. They are limited in numbers, though, and can sell out. Usually they do sell out, on major routes and peak travel days even within a few hours. In particular the discounted first-class fares. The train route to Cologne is a major one, and while Sunday morning usually isn't considered peak travel time, the trains from Frankfurt airport are always busy with incoming air passengers.

Another disadvantage is that in case of a plane delay the non-flexible ticket is lost and he has to buy a new one at full fare.

If your brother buys the ticket on the spot he has to pay the full standard fare anyway. Second class is perfectly fine. I'd get a standard fare (flex) ticket for second class from www.bahn.com in advance, together with a seat reservation for the train he is most likely to catch.
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Jun 24th, 2017, 12:11 PM
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> The non-flexible discount fares must be bought in advance, they are not available on the spot. In theory they can be bought until one day before travel date.

That has changed - you can buy saver fare tickets right on the day of travel. In my experience however, savings will be in the 7 to 15% only.
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Jun 24th, 2017, 12:24 PM
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https://www.rome2rio.com/s/Frankfurt-am-Main/Aachen

I would do an ICE train if possible and it should not be over a 100 euros at most. Have breakfast at the airport and enjoy. Really very simple. There are information booths in the airport and it is easy to navigate there.
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Jun 24th, 2017, 12:27 PM
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Sonia, this is a travel forum to ask questions. People should just scroll on by and skip the snark. If on a tight budget and a huge difference in price the second class tickets are not bad.
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Jun 24th, 2017, 03:45 PM
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so you may find that it's just as cheap to purchase a nonrestricted ticket online so you can jump on any train.>

Yes good advice but if it is an unrestricted ticket be sure to cancel it yourself before hopping on the train - such tickets are not train-specific so if no conductor come by -not unusual - the ticket has already been canceled.

If you do not cancel it the condcutor could fine you -at least this I think is the case - I always have a railpass so not sure but that is a rule in most European countries - if an unrestrictedticket is uncancelled - find the conductor before he finds and fines you and all will be Hoyle.

Don't jump on Thalys trains to Aachen by mistake the unrestricted ticket you can buy online would be for all other trains than Thalys.
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Jun 25th, 2017, 09:10 AM
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>Yes good advice but if it is an unrestricted ticket be sure to cancel it yourself before hopping on the train

That's true for S-Bahn trains only, not for any other train.
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Jun 25th, 2017, 12:50 PM
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thanks for that update sla019! Seats are unreserved I think unless you make a reservation - I would do so when you buy your ticket online - optional but if train is very busy invaluable.
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