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Cubsrule
Topic Author
Posts: 15153
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 12:13 pm

Rail or Air on USA-FRA-STR Connections

Tue Dec 24, 2019 8:57 pm

I'm looking at a family trip from the States to STR this summer, and LH sells both rail and flight connections over FRA that have very similar timings and prices. Can some folks familiar with the rail connection at FRA shed some light on which of these will be more convenient? (The train will likely be a more convenient arrival geographically in Stuttgart for us, although getting to and from STR isn't usually that hard.) If it makes a difference, I'll have kids and likely checked bags with me. Thanks in advance.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
mchei
Posts: 202
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:20 pm

Re: Rail or Air on USA-FRA-STR Connections

Tue Dec 24, 2019 11:46 pm

Hi
If you have checked bags I’d take the flight. It’s usually not so funny to carry your luggage on an ICE train in Germany, especially when it gets crowded. That’s just a personal opinion though. STR airport is outside of the city though and you will need to take the local train to downtown - also not so funny. If you want to take a rental car, mind that the Autobahn around Stuttgart can be a mess - and traffic into Stuttgart is a nightmare.
At the end it’s a matter of $ or € I think.
F70-F100-E145-E170-E190-319-320-321-735–736-737-738-752-763–742-744-333-343-ATR72-Metroliner-Saab2000-Lockheed Electra-C172-C182-C182RG-MD11
 
debonair
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Re: Rail or Air on USA-FRA-STR Connections

Wed Dec 25, 2019 1:19 am

For me definitely flying, seats and refreshments included. Train can be a nightmare, read late and overcrowded.
 
Cubsrule
Topic Author
Posts: 15153
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Re: Rail or Air on USA-FRA-STR Connections

Wed Dec 25, 2019 2:51 am

mchei wrote:
Hi
If you have checked bags I’d take the flight. It’s usually not so funny to carry your luggage on an ICE train in Germany, especially when it gets crowded. That’s just a personal opinion though. STR airport is outside of the city though and you will need to take the local train to downtown - also not so funny. If you want to take a rental car, mind that the Autobahn around Stuttgart can be a mess - and traffic into Stuttgart is a nightmare.
At the end it’s a matter of $ or € I think.


Thanks. We have a transfer when we arrive in Stuttgart by either mode, so (thankfully) neither the Autobahn nor the local train will be my problem when we get there.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
mchei
Posts: 202
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:20 pm

Re: Rail or Air on USA-FRA-STR Connections

Wed Dec 25, 2019 11:01 am

Just had a look at the Deutsche Bahn timetable for the route. The train takes about 1:15 hours and it's a high speed connection. It leaves Frankfurt Airport station so you don’t need to connect into the city first. It leaves at least every hour, sometimes you have two trains an hours. These are the good things :)
Large suitcases in these trains are no fun and trains can really get crowded depending on the time of the day and year.
Do you already know date and time? I can then check the timetables and send you a link.
F70-F100-E145-E170-E190-319-320-321-735–736-737-738-752-763–742-744-333-343-ATR72-Metroliner-Saab2000-Lockheed Electra-C172-C182-C182RG-MD11
 
debonair
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Re: Rail or Air on USA-FRA-STR Connections

Wed Dec 25, 2019 12:52 pm

mchei wrote:
It leaves Frankfurt Airport station so you don’t need to connect into the city first.


True, but you have to clear customs in FRA (which sometimes is a zoo) and walk to the train station which is opposite the terminal. Otherwise, you do only Immigration in FRA and customs in STR. And you have no stress when the flight is arriving late, as LH will be responsible for you under EU law - like rebooking. It depends where you are living in the US, the non-stop DL flight from ATL might be a stressfree option!
 
PI4EVR
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Re: Rail or Air on USA-FRA-STR Connections

Wed Dec 25, 2019 1:16 pm

I have done the FRA-STR connection using ICE on two trips. I did have just one rollerboard and a backpack, but was seated on the train both times in a compartment car designed for LH passengers. We were served beverages and a sandwich on both trips. The train stops in Mannheim but briefly and on to the Central Station in STR. I was visiting my military family who was stationed in STR.
After an overnight flight from the US, the whole experience was easy and we enjoyed the break from simply flying. We cleared immigration quickly, walked with easy directions to the train and down an escalator to the platform. I did not clear any further customs or immigration inspection on arrival in STR. We did our return on one trip from STR back to FRA Airport and one trip our return flight was from ZRH.
Even traveling with kids, unless they're prone to being cranky and fitful, I highly recommend the train connection as just being a new travel adventure.
We made use of the GermanRail "Bayern" tickets to use local trains while we were in the STR area. Up to 5 people can travel on local trains for one very low fare. Just in case you consider any side trips in the area.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Rail or Air on USA-FRA-STR Connections

Wed Dec 25, 2019 1:38 pm

debonair wrote:
mchei wrote:
It leaves Frankfurt Airport station so you don’t need to connect into the city first.


True, but you have to clear customs in FRA (which sometimes is a zoo) and walk to the train station which is opposite the terminal. Otherwise, you do only Immigration in FRA and customs in STR. And you have no stress when the flight is arriving late, as LH will be responsible for you under EU law - like rebooking. It depends where you are living in the US, the non-stop DL flight from ATL might be a stressfree option!


Lufthansa will be responsible for rebooking you on the next train as well if you arrive late, so no difference there.

In most European countries including Germany such short flights as Frankfurt-Stuttgart are very much frowned upon as the train is an excellent alternative and it's far more environment-friendly. As others have mentioned, the catering on the train is just as good as on the flight. Maybe even better.

I agree that the Delta Atlanta - Stuttgart flight is worth looking into, that way you can fully bypass Frankfurt.
 
Noray
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Re: Rail or Air on USA-FRA-STR Connections

Wed Dec 25, 2019 1:39 pm

PI4EVR wrote:
We made use of the GermanRail "Bayern" tickets to use local trains while we were in the STR area. Up to 5 people can travel on local trains for one very low fare. Just in case you consider any side trips in the area.

The "Bayern" ticket is for Munich + Bavaria. In Stuttgart you'll be treated like a fare dodger with this one. Get the Baden-Württemberg-Ticket instead.
 
mchei
Posts: 202
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Re: Rail or Air on USA-FRA-STR Connections

Wed Dec 25, 2019 1:50 pm

Noray wrote:
PI4EVR wrote:
We made use of the GermanRail "Bayern" tickets to use local trains while we were in the STR area. Up to 5 people can travel on local trains for one very low fare. Just in case you consider any side trips in the area.

The "Bayern" ticket is for Munich + Bavaria. In Stuttgart you'll be treated like a fare dodger with this one. Get the Baden-Württemberg-Ticket instead.


And don’t tell the Schwaben that they are Bayern ;)
F70-F100-E145-E170-E190-319-320-321-735–736-737-738-752-763–742-744-333-343-ATR72-Metroliner-Saab2000-Lockheed Electra-C172-C182-C182RG-MD11
 
PI4EVR
Posts: 159
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Re: Rail or Air on USA-FRA-STR Connections

Wed Dec 25, 2019 3:04 pm

I apologize Cubsrule for any incorrect train info I shared. I likely confused my train tickets and names when I used the Stuttgart to Rothenburg ob der Tauber service via Ansbach, and when I used a train from Munich to both Salzburg and Fussen/Neuschwanstein Castle. Thanks to the other posters for correcting me.
I generally have found train fares purchased direct from rail line websites or locally at a ticket office to be a better value in most cases than purchasing through RailEurope ahead of travel here in the US. Just a further suggestion if you plan any travel by train beyond STR.
I do stand by my recommendation to use the ICE connection FRA-STR.
P.S. I'm a retired airline guy who loves trains and ships!
 
Cubsrule
Topic Author
Posts: 15153
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 12:13 pm

Re: Rail or Air on USA-FRA-STR Connections

Wed Dec 25, 2019 5:17 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
debonair wrote:
mchei wrote:
It leaves Frankfurt Airport station so you don’t need to connect into the city first.


True, but you have to clear customs in FRA (which sometimes is a zoo) and walk to the train station which is opposite the terminal. Otherwise, you do only Immigration in FRA and customs in STR. And you have no stress when the flight is arriving late, as LH will be responsible for you under EU law - like rebooking. It depends where you are living in the US, the non-stop DL flight from ATL might be a stressfree option!


Lufthansa will be responsible for rebooking you on the next train as well if you arrive late, so no difference there.

In most European countries including Germany such short flights as Frankfurt-Stuttgart are very much frowned upon as the train is an excellent alternative and it's far more environment-friendly. As others have mentioned, the catering on the train is just as good as on the flight. Maybe even better.

I agree that the Delta Atlanta - Stuttgart flight is worth looking into, that way you can fully bypass Frankfurt.


Unfortunately, DL is pricing the ATL flight at quite a premium (>$1,000 per person for the dates I’ve checked) this summer, which isn’t workable with the family. I do some auto industry work and agree fully that the ATL flight and bypassing FRA is optimal from a convenience perspective. I prefer LHR to ATL for STR-BNA, but BA doesn’t have a mid-day flight to STR so for us the connection is very long going east.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
PSAatSAN4Ever
Posts: 1234
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:38 pm

Re: Rail or Air on USA-FRA-STR Connections

Wed Dec 25, 2019 5:40 pm

FROM EXPERIENCE WITH THIS VERY SITUATION:

Be VERY careful with your connecting times. If you are connecting from the plane to the train, you will need to go through customs to get to the train station. And if your situation is like mine was, you'll get behind multiple large Chinese families who have NO understanding of the concept that everyone must have their own passport in their possession. We spent nearly two hours in line watching this horror show with absolutely no one coming to help the poor passport checkers or us! When it got to us, we were through in less than 30 seconds, but by then, our train was LONG gone.

I blame part of this on Lufthansa itself. One hour and seven minutes to clear customs is not enough. But they insisted it was, and ended up having to rebook us via airplane to Stuttgart. For EU citizens, there is an automated passport control, but for citizens elsewhere, we must go through manually. And it's not bad, but the horror show of those who have no concept of how to go through customs slowed us down terribly.

Anything less than two hours for a plane to train connection should be eliminated, especially if from a non-EU location. One can go through passport control to the rest of the airport easily enough, so time there isn't as vital.
 
tommy1808
Posts: 14563
Joined: Thu Nov 21, 2013 3:24 pm

Re: Rail or Air on USA-FRA-STR Connections

Wed Dec 25, 2019 5:46 pm

debonair wrote:
For me definitely flying, seats and refreshments included. Train can be a nightmare, read late and overcrowded.


On air rail trains you have all that, but good luck with refreshments on an 85nm flight.

Best regards
Thomas
Well, there is prophecy in the bible after all: 2 Timothy 3:1-6
 
MHG
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Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2004 1:33 am

Re: Rail or Air on USA-FRA-STR Connections

Wed Dec 25, 2019 5:48 pm

Since you mentioned considering LH booking through to Stuttgart I´d prefer the flight/train combo.
Flying into FRA and then flying onwards to STR will add likely 45-60 mins compared to the flight/train combo because the ICE-train from FRA gets you right to Stuttgart central station.
Just the local train (S-Bahn) from STR to Stuttgart central station already takes ~ 30 mins.

So, it depends where your final destination is.
If e.g. Filderstadt is where you´re going then flying may be a reasonable thing but Stuttgart city or anything north / north-west / even quite a bit north-east of Stuttgart is better reached by train via Stuttgart central station.
Flying is not inherently dangerous but it is very unforgiving in case of carelessness, incapacity or neglect.
 
tommy1808
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Joined: Thu Nov 21, 2013 3:24 pm

Re: Rail or Air on USA-FRA-STR Connections

Wed Dec 25, 2019 5:53 pm

PSAatSAN4Ever wrote:
I blame part of this on Lufthansa itself. One hour and seven minutes to clear customs is not enough. But they insisted it was, and ended up having to rebook us via airplane to Stuttgart.


One hour is enough under normal circumstances, did it plenty of times coming of China Airlines, and with the airline taking the risk I would take it every time.

Best regards
Thomas
Well, there is prophecy in the bible after all: 2 Timothy 3:1-6
 
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Rossiya747
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Re: Rail or Air on USA-FRA-STR Connections

Wed Dec 25, 2019 11:14 pm

Air. You can add an extra flight to your flightlog.
223 319 320 321 332 333 346 388 734 737 738 739 38M 744 752 753 763 764 772 773 77W 788 789 208 UA DL AA WN AC CM 4O AV 2K FI DY D8 SK LH EI FR U2 IB OS LX BA VS BT PS MS SA SW QR EY HY AI 9W TG SQ MH AK D7 QZ BR NH CA QF MI LV/IB VY AL G4 LX OS
 
PSAatSAN4Ever
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Re: Rail or Air on USA-FRA-STR Connections

Thu Dec 26, 2019 6:08 pm

tommy1808 wrote:
PSAatSAN4Ever wrote:
I blame part of this on Lufthansa itself. One hour and seven minutes to clear customs is not enough. But they insisted it was, and ended up having to rebook us via airplane to Stuttgart.


One hour is enough under normal circumstances, did it plenty of times coming of China Airlines, and with the airline taking the risk I would take it every time.

Best regards
Thomas


All it took was once for it to get screwed up. And once was enough.

No one can predict the speed of immigration and passport-check services at any time on any day. Being aware that a tight connection might not be made is of the utmost importance. And it's always better to be through with time to spare than it is to be running late.
 
tommy1808
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Re: Rail or Air on USA-FRA-STR Connections

Thu Dec 26, 2019 7:03 pm

PSAatSAN4Ever wrote:
tommy1808 wrote:
PSAatSAN4Ever wrote:
I blame part of this on Lufthansa itself. One hour and seven minutes to clear customs is not enough. But they insisted it was, and ended up having to rebook us via airplane to Stuttgart.


One hour is enough under normal circumstances, did it plenty of times coming of China Airlines, and with the airline taking the risk I would take it every time.

Best regards
Thomas


All it took was once for it to get screwed up. And once was enough.

No one can predict the speed of immigration and passport-check services at any time on any day. Being aware that a tight connection might not be made is of the utmost importance. And it's always better to be through with time to spare than it is to be running late.


Of course you can't predict stuff like that, but based on that I would need to plan layover in ORD with 8+ hours....

Best regards
Thomas
Well, there is prophecy in the bible after all: 2 Timothy 3:1-6
 
PSAatSAN4Ever
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Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:38 pm

Re: Rail or Air on USA-FRA-STR Connections

Thu Dec 26, 2019 9:51 pm

tommy1808 wrote:
PSAatSAN4Ever wrote:
tommy1808 wrote:

One hour is enough under normal circumstances, did it plenty of times coming of China Airlines, and with the airline taking the risk I would take it every time.

Best regards
Thomas


All it took was once for it to get screwed up. And once was enough.

No one can predict the speed of immigration and passport-check services at any time on any day. Being aware that a tight connection might not be made is of the utmost importance. And it's always better to be through with time to spare than it is to be running late.


Of course you can't predict stuff like that, but based on that I would need to plan layover in ORD with 8+ hours....

Best regards
Thomas


Depending on the time of the year, that might be a good idea. Did you see what happened Christmas Eve here? And getting from T5 to domestic gates, through TSA, and onto your plane, conceivably that could happen.

But I agree that sometimes things go perfectly, and sometimes they do not. Being prepared and having sufficient time should always be a #1 priority.
 
timh4000
Posts: 321
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:14 pm

Re: Rail or Air on USA-FRA-STR Connections

Fri Dec 27, 2019 2:47 am

If it was just me, or my wife and me I'd probably take the train. I enjoy riding by rail almost as much as flying. Taking little ones with lots of bags, probably I'd fly.
 
rnav2dlrey
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Re: Rail or Air on USA-FRA-STR Connections

Fri Dec 27, 2019 3:24 am

if you fly UA, i believe you're still able to book to/from QYG, which is a catch-all for any DB train. it costs about an extra $30-40, and good on any train that day.

you may have to force the UA.com booking engine into it by searching for something like ORD-FRA-QYG. there's a thread on flyertalk that goes into better detail, just google it.
 
tommy1808
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Re: Rail or Air on USA-FRA-STR Connections

Fri Dec 27, 2019 6:07 am

PSAatSAN4Ever wrote:

But I agree that sometimes things go perfectly, and sometimes they do not. Being prepared and having sufficient time should always be a #1 priority.


I don't have time for that. If the airline sells me a ticket, I try my best to make the connection, but it's their responsibility to get me where I am going, and get me there around the agreed time. I plan my buffer at my final destination for my convenience, not at some hub between to the benefit of the airline. If they mess up too much, I gladly take my 600 euro.

Best regards
Thomas
Well, there is prophecy in the bible after all: 2 Timothy 3:1-6
 
Ryanair01
Posts: 485
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Re: Rail or Air on USA-FRA-STR Connections

Fri Dec 27, 2019 1:33 pm

PSAatSAN4Ever wrote:
FROM EXPERIENCE WITH THIS VERY SITUATION:

Be VERY careful with your connecting times. If you are connecting from the plane to the train, you will need to go through customs to get to the train station. And if your situation is like mine was, you'll get behind multiple large Chinese families who have NO understanding of the concept that everyone must have their own passport in their possession. We spent nearly two hours in line watching this horror show with absolutely no one coming to help the poor passport checkers or us! When it got to us, we were through in less than 30 seconds, but by then, our train was LONG gone.

I blame part of this on Lufthansa itself. One hour and seven minutes to clear customs is not enough. But they insisted it was, and ended up having to rebook us via airplane to Stuttgart. For EU citizens, there is an automated passport control, but for citizens elsewhere, we must go through manually. And it's not bad, but the horror show of those who have no concept of how to go through customs slowed us down terribly.

Anything less than two hours for a plane to train connection should be eliminated, especially if from a non-EU location. One can go through passport control to the rest of the airport easily enough, so time there isn't as vital.


You also have to enter Schengen for a Stuttgart flight connection too. So the same applies.
 
Kilopond
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Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 10:08 am

Re: Rail or Air on USA-FRA-STR Connections

Fri Dec 27, 2019 11:19 pm

Cubsrule wrote:
[...]We have a transfer when we arrive in Stuttgart[...]


Does this mean that STR is not your final destination? If this is the case, you should seriously consider buying a so-called "Rail&Fly" supplement from the airline of your choice. This kind of conjunction ticket will take you from ANY airport in Germany to ANY railway station in Germany. Most airlines charge € 39 while some others give it away for free.
 
Cubsrule
Topic Author
Posts: 15153
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 12:13 pm

Re: Rail or Air on USA-FRA-STR Connections

Fri Dec 27, 2019 11:23 pm

Kilopond wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:
[...]We have a transfer when we arrive in Stuttgart[...]


Does this mean that STR is not your final destination? If this is the case, you should seriously consider buying a so-called "Rail&Fly" supplement from the airline of your choice. This kind of conjunction ticket will take you from ANY airport in Germany to ANY railway station in Germany. Most airlines charge € 39 while some others give it away for free.


Nope - a transfer to our hotel in Stuttgart.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more

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