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Assistance with train travel from Frankfurt international Airport to Basel, Switzerland

Good evening,
I am traveling with a group of 8, myself included, and we will arrive in Frankfurt, Germany from America.
How do we get to the train station? Is there a transport available from the airport to the train station?
Which train do we take to arrive in Basel, Switzerland? I am unclear on the many trains from Frankfurt; Frankfurt main, sud, etc.
Our plane arrives around 15:00. How much time should I give myself to get to the train on time?
What is the difference between 1st and 2nd class seating on the trains?
I'd appreciate any advice you can offer.
I am also open to flying from Frankfurt to Basel, but I was unsuccessful finding an airline to do so affordably.
much gratitude,

Posted by
8889 posts

The train station is at the airport. Name: "Frankfurt(M)Flughafen". It is in front of the terminal, you walk over a bridge.
"Frankfurt (main) Hbf" is the station in the city centre, you don't want that one. There are trains from the airport station to Basel, about one per hour. Takes ~3 hours. Look up times and prices on the German Railways website:

Second class is 2+2 seating, first class is 2+1, with a bit of extra legroom. Second class is perfectly adequate, more room than on any aircraft.

The problem of timing is that getting through immigration could take 10 minutes or 50, and your plane could be 1 hour late, or early. The usual advice when transfering from an intercontinental flight to a train is not to pre-book, but to just get the next train when you arrive, and accept you will have to pay "full fare".

Edit: There are two Frankfurts in Germany: Frankfurt (Main) and Frankfurt (Oder), at the opposite sides of the country. Frankfurt (Oder) does not have an airport.

Posted by
99 posts

Do you have to be in Basel the day you arrive? If not, I would highly recommend you staying in Frankfurt on that day and catching a train out early the next morning. If you do this, and if your trip is far enough in advance you can buy "Spar Preis" and save a significant amount of money on your train trip (especially with 8 people in your party). If you do do this, make sure to also make seat reservations. I traveled this route last year and my ICE trains were pretty packed.

Posted by
19170 posts

Use the German Rail (Bahn) schedule website.

On the opening page, part way down, it says "Travellers". Select "More than 5 travellers" from the pulldown, then go to Group travel information. You should get a good rate with 8 people.

All the major stations in the Frankfurt am Rhein area will say Frankfurt(M) or Frankfurt(Main). Flughafen are the stations at the airport (Fernbahnhof is the express train station); Hbf is the main station in town; Ost and Süd (east and south) are other major stations. They are all connected by the S-Bahn.

The trains from Frankfurt will go right into downtown Basel. If you fly, the Basel airport (Europort) is in France, and you have to come into Basel by bus.