Exciting New Integrated Air/Rail Ticket Scheme Announced By United Airlines, Lufthansa Group And Deutsche Bahn

United AirlinesLufthansa Group and Deutsche Bahn (DB) have announced a new partnership that will allow customers to buy integrated air/rail tickets to better explore Germany’s well-known and lesser-known cities and take advantage of exclusive benefits.

United Airlines Plane
United Airlines is teaming up with Lufthansa Group and Deutsche Bahn for a new integrated air/rail ticket initiative. © MarcelX42

United Airlines’ Integrated Air/Rail Ticket Scheme

United Airlines passengers travelling from the U.S. to Germany via Frankfurt Airport (FRA) will now be able to purchase integrated plane and train tickets following the announcement of a partnership between the airline, Lufthansa Group and Germany’s national rail operator, Deutsch Bahn.

As part of the partnership, customers will be able to book integrated air/rail tickets as part of a single transaction involving one combined fare and one single ticket for both boarding passes and rail tickets. The new initiative will cover rail transfers between Frankfurt Airport and 25 major cities, including Berlin, Cologne, Dresden, Hamburg, Munich, and Nuremberg, to name but a few, in addition to the city of Basel in Switzerland.

The initiative comes with additional benefits for customers purchasing integrated air/rail tickets, including priority baggage handling, transfer and connection protection in the event of delays and logistical issues and access to DB lounges for eligible customers. In addition, United MileagePlus customers will also be able to spend and earn miles for any rail journeys taken as a part of the initiative.

On the announcement of the partnership, Stefan Kreuzpaintner, Senior Vice President Network, Alliances & Partnerships, Deutsche Lufthansa AG, said:

“Connecting amazing places on both sides of the Atlantic has never been so easy. Together with our partners, we have consistently expanded our intermodal services in recent years in many European countries. In Germany, Lufthansa offers a rail alternative to every domestic feeder flight to Frankfurt. This new partnership is another milestone in the successful Lufthansa Express Rail programme. It offers travellers to and from the USA a convenient, comfortable journey—a real premium product.”

Deutsche Bahn Train
Travellers will be able to book direct transfers to and from Frankfurt Airport through the integrated air/rail ticket scheme. © calflier001

Combined Travel Schemes

The aforementioned integrated ticket initiative builds upon other schemes set up in recent years between the corresponding parties involved in the latest partnership.

In March 2021, Lufthansa announced that it would be partnering with Deutsche Bahn to better integrate flight and rail services. The ‘Flug zum Zug’ (flight to train) initiative was launched with the aim of offering travellers faster, more frequent services between Frankfurt Airport and major cities throughout Germany and Basel, Switzerland.

Just over two years later, in June 2023, Star Alliance announced that it would be welcoming Deutsche Bahn as its newest member as a part of efforts to become an “intermodal alliance” integrating different modes of transport.

Augsburg, Würzburg, Erfurt and Kassel
United Airlines customers will have the chance to book train transfers to big cities and lesser-known destinations in Germany. © Diego Delso (top left—Augsburg), Krzysztof Golik (top right—Würzburg), Sfintu1 (bottom left—Erfurt) and A.Savin (bottom right—Kassel)

United Airlines and Germany

United Airlines has been connecting the United States of America with Germany since 1990 and operates daily, year-round flights between Frankfurt and Munich and its hubs at New York/Newark, Chicago, Washington, Houston, Denver and San Francisco, and between Berlin and its New York/Newark hub.

Although the latest partnership will connect travellers with well-known destinations such as Berlin and Munich, travellers will also be able to travel with greater ease to other, less-known destinations, including Augsburg, the location of the quaint, greenery-covered Fuggerei, the world’s oldest public housing complex which is still in use to this day, and Erfurt, home to the colourful Krämerbrücke (Merchants’ Bridge), which is lined with both artisan shops and residences and stands as the oldest and longest inhabited bridge in the world.

Travellers can also use their integrated air/rail tickets to visit some of Germany’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as the Würzburg Residence, a stunning baroque palace surrounded by expansive gardens in the Bavarian city of Würzburg, and Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe, the largest hillside park in Europe, located on the outskirts of the city of Kassel in the state of Hesse.

What do you think of United Airlines’ new integrated air/rail ticket scheme? Are you planning to visit Germany with United Airlines? If so, which destinations are at the top of your list? Let us know in the comments!

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Rachel Dunster
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Aviation Reporter
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