DrDeutsche Bahn has become a member of the Star Alliance, an alliance of 26 airlines, including Deutsche Lufthansa, Thai Airways, United, SAS and Air New Zealand. From August 1, it will be possible to book a connecting flight with Deutsche Bahn with all these airlines, so it will then appear on your flight ticket and you will no longer have to buy your own ticket for a train journey. This would make traveling to and from the airport easier and help avoid short-haul flights within Germany.
On Monday, representatives of Star Alliance, Lufthansa and Deutsche Bahn spoke of starting a “unique partnership,” as they build the future of travel, the goal being a “smooth customer experience.” Lufthansa offers the option to include a train journey when booking an airline ticket for more than two decades. This is currently used by 500,000 passengers a year, according to Jeffrey Goh, CEO of Star Alliance. This number is expected to rise to five million by 2030.
Guarantee of contact and seat reservation
On Monday, no one expected how much the other Star Alliance partners would benefit from the new offer. The fact that passengers have to take care of their luggage themselves during the train journey does not change, they cannot hand it over at the boarding station. However, everyone can use the check-in desk at the long-distance train station at Frankfurt Airport. Anyone who uses the Star Alliance partner frequent flyer programs can take advantage of the new program insofar as distances traveled by train also earn points. But they are missing then when collecting points in Deutsche Bahn.
An advantage for travelers who have a ticket for a train journey is the guarantee of connectivity. So if ICE arrives late from Frankfurt, the airline has to see how it can get the passenger to their destination. If a train journey is booked with the flight, this will include a seat reservation. Those traveling in business or first class can also use the DB lounges. Star Alliance President Goh spoke of a unique partnership that links the largest airline alliance, which also includes Germany’s largest airline, Lufthansa, with Europe’s largest railway operator. “It is a sign of innovation based on the pursuit of environmental sustainability.” After many years of collaboration between Lufthansa and Deutsche Bahn, this is the next step towards multimodal mobility.
Discounted short haul flights
Goh noted that Star Alliance could envisage further cooperation with railway companies, for example in Japan. For Lufthansa, board member Harry Homeister said Frankfurt Airport, with its long-distance train station, is already a symbol of the link between the two modes of transport.
Work is currently underway to improve connectivity between Munich Airport, Lufthansa’s second hub, and rail transport. The objective of cooperation with the railways is “totally coordinated communications”. Lufthansa has already reduced short flights, so there are no longer any flights from Hof, Augsburg and Cologne to Frankfurt, for example. During the current air traffic congestion, domestic flights are often canceled because customers can be referred to rail lines.
Shift commuting by train and plane?
Michael Peterson, board member of the long-distance traveler DB, praised the fact that in the future, for example, only one ticket will be required to fly from Freiburg to Singapore. Lufthansa Express Rail reservations have doubled since 2010. “In close cooperation with airlines, we are now dealing with the transformation of mobility.”
As it was said on Monday, the railway connection rates have been agreed with the state-owned company. Star Alliance has been around for 25 years, and member airlines operate together in more than 50 international hubs. Also among the members are Polish airline LOT, Turkish Airlines and EgyptAir.