Flight includes a train ride. Consequences of skipping the train?
March 7, 2019 8:19 AM   Subscribe

I'm flying to Cologne for a conference next week. For the return trip, my booking on Lufthansa has a train from Cologne to Frankfurt and then the flight home from there. Because hotel prices are bonkers on my last night in Cologne, I'm considering going to Frankfurt a day early, staying there instead, and getting to the airport myself, therefore skipping the train ticket that was included in my flight booking. Is there any risk that my no-show for the Lufthansa train ticket will cause an automatic cancellation of the subsequent flight?

I did call Lufthansa's customer service, but they did not seem to totally understand the question or feel confident in their response.
posted by chimpsonfilm to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I mean, in general you don't "check in" for a train journey the way you do for a flight, so I can't imagine how they would even know for certain whether you were on the train or not. I'm reluctant to say that there's *no* risk, but it seems pretty un-risky.
posted by mskyle at 8:22 AM on March 7

No, I would not risk this as they recently sued a passenger for skipping the last leg of their flight. If you want to push it, ask at a counter with someone face to face and get proof in writing that the leg is cancelled.
posted by soelo at 8:25 AM on March 7

I was tempted to answer merely because I was on that train last Saturday, but otherwise don't have a great deal of insight.

And then I googled, and it looks like you do check-in at Cologne, and get issued your boarding pass (one of which is de facto a train ticket) there. So I'd say you do need to travel from Cologne on that evidence.
posted by ambrosen at 8:40 AM on March 7

Here is someone asking a similar question in 2016, with a (possibly risky) strategy in the answer. If it was me, I'd just press on Lufthansa to rebook or cancel the train portion of the ticket, (but the change fee might eat the hotel savings).
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 8:46 AM on March 7

This was a question on the Lufthansa board at Flyertalk a few weeks ago, where people have dealt with this exact situation and are probably very familiar with Rail/Fly tickets. Another one from 2017.

The consensus is:

- this is technically not allowed
- this is a known way to save hundreds of euros
- your e-ticket on the train will be scanned by the conductor if they get to you
- Lufthansa can't know if you were missed in the ticket-scan on the train because the conductor missed you or because you missed the train
- it's fine to check in bags at Frankfurt Airport without having been scanned on the train
- you obviously won't want to check in your bags before your train was supposed to arrive

I wouldn't want to take this risk but it might be a huge savings and therefore worth it for you. (Alternately: can you change the train ticket?)
posted by mdonley at 8:58 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]

Thanks, everyone. I think I'll play it safe and keep the train ticket. Hotel prices in Dusseldorf look to be unaffected, and that's just a short train ride away.
posted by chimpsonfilm at 7:44 AM on March 8

Back home now. There were two boarding pass checks on the train by different people. Two train cars were reserved for Lufthansa passengers, so it wasn’t hard for the people doing the checks to cover everyone. And I couldn’t check in for the flight in Frankfurt until I arrived at the airport there, post-train. So there did seem to be some risk that skipping the train would have affected the flight.
posted by chimpsonfilm at 5:39 AM on March 18

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