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German Rail Pass Twins 15 Day Consecutive - 1st Class Seat Reservation needed???

Headed to Germany for two weeks. Bought the German Rail Pass Twins 15 day consecutive. Upgraded to 1st (for all sorts of reasons and I know people will say I didn't need to do that). The two questions I have are this:

  1. Am I able to load this into the DB Navigator app? It's a paper printout with a QR code on it. Would be GREAT if I could just do this all in the app and not have to carry paper around. Nobody at the Bahn.de site or on the phone has been able to provide clarity.
  2. Seat reservations and whether or not I have to make them, since the rail pass is first class, seems to be very hard to answer. Apparently the pass gets me a reservation but not a seat (assuming I am understanding what I have been told so far). I was told that I would need to make a seat reservation at the 5.3 Euro rate per seat even though I had the Rail Pass with unlimited travel.

Confused. Would love clarity before we hit the ground in Germany and either make mistakes or waste a lot of time trying to figure out these answers.

Thanks in advance for the help.

Posted by
13855 posts

Your rail pass functions as a ticket for travel on the train, but it is not a seat reservation. You can easily buy them on the bahn.de website. Look on this page at lower left, where it says “seat only, no ticket” and proceed from there.

https://www.bahn.com/en

And yes, it will cost €5,90 per reservation.

I believe they are required for certain trains but not all. Hopefully someone familiar with all the German train types can help you with that.

Posted by
2140 posts

Craig, you should be able to view your ticket(s) on the app. There is no need to download the paper ticket - just go to your account on the DB Navigator app. Just open the app, log in, and your ticket your be there. If you did not create an account, do so now and again the above will happen. DB lets you buy tickets without creating an account for some reason, but the only way to access your tickets on the app is to have an account. Once you have done that, you just click on the ticket on your app and the QR code will appear.

With regards to the reservation, you should be able to do that online. This link might help: https://www.bahn.com/en/offers/Seat-reservation-and-other. FWIW, you probably do not need a reservation. First class is usually not that crowded so you should be able to find a seat with no problem. If you needed a reservation, you would have been told when you bought the ticket.

Posted by
16887 posts

1) If you did not receive your pass electronically, I'd think it unlikely that it can be converted. Certainly not in the app, but it could at least be saved to your phone as a PDF, if it was delivered that way.

2) Most German trains don't require reservations, unless they're international. The DB website and Navigator app will specify under "Details" if they are. Despite that, most first-class tickets now come with an automatic seat assignment, so do pay attention to which seats are reserved (if they are marked, or if someone says you're in their seat)

Posted by
2140 posts

Laura is correct - my goof; I just realized you were talking about a pass and not a single ticket.

That said, I would suggest taking a GOOD photo (or scanning) the QR code on your ticket, then save it on your phone just in case. The conductor's QR readers are not that sophisticated so it may be able to pick up the code from the photo. If not, then just pull out the paper pass and show it. But I would try the first option - if it works, then tuck the paper pass away (but keep it on you) and just use your phone.

Posted by
4 posts

Wow. First, thanks for the responses and the offers of info. Much appreciation on our end for the help and clarity. With the desire being to be able to get on, get off, have access to first class and the lounges where available while we are traveling all over Germany, here is what I know at this point:

  1. I could have bought this pass from the Eurail site (https://www.eurail.com/en/eurail-passes/one-country-pass/german-rail-pass) for 1186 Euros. It would have been mobile. It would NOT have included seat reservations.
  2. I could have bought this pass from the Bahn site (https://www.dbregio-shop.de/product/80/show#ticket_options) for 1008 Euros. This pass is paper only. However, this fact is certainly not super clear on the site and the fact that it cannot be entered into the DB app isn't clear either. It would seem that once you had a ticket number and an account on the Bahn.de site, you could do this. You cannot. Unfortunately, this is the pass that I bought.
  3. Seat reservations don't appear to be a requirement (as per the sites and as per your helpful comments). But they are recommended for busy trains. Further guidance or help around this would be great as it looks like I may be paying 11 Euros every time we get on a train with a pass that already cost me 1008 Euros.
  4. I'll be able to use the DB app to use the 'Seats Only - No Tickets' function to reserve seat(s) and will then pay the fee for reserving each seat. I can also use the app to find trains, look at times, understand stations, etc. - all of the good things that the app currently does.
  5. Is there anything else that I am missing here?

Looking forward to the trip, to seeing Christmas markets, history, culture, and all that Germany has to offer. Thanks.

Craig

Posted by
32 posts

A few things:

Reservations are only for long distance trains. If you plan a journey with more than one train always make resevations for the complete journey, so you pay only once for the whole journey and not every single train.

I would only buy a resevation on the weekend (fr-so) and gamble that there are free seats during the week. Or make a fake booking in the App as you can choose your seat during the process meaning you can check how many seats are already booked and such see how full the train will be. That will be very acurate as if you buy a regular first class ticket the resrvation will be included .Also you can make a reservation up to a few minutes bevore the train leaves. Example: on a train Munich to Hamburg you can make a reservation Frankfurt to Münster when the train is already aproching Frankfurt. (well, if it takes that route :-)

Posted by
13530 posts

I would have done almost exactly the same, with only a couple of exceptions.

I only buy from Eurail a paper pass, only a 10 or 15 day non-consecutive Pass within 2 months, No apps here. For the seat reservations I don't order in advance, on-line, unless that is required. I get the seat reservation at the station in Germany, regardless where, say I'm in Munich but want a seat reservation(s) from Dortmund to Berlin on the ICE or Naumburg to Hannover.

Having the seat reservation is more often needed (in the summer when I travel...peak season) but you still have to deal with the luggage space or lack of it above your reserved seat.

What happens when you get to your reserved seat but all the space above on both sides is taken? Not an enviable position especially when have more than one piece, likewise with your fellow passengers around you.

Posted by
5726 posts

"Seat reservations don't appear to be a requirement (as per the sites
and as per your helpful comments). But they are recommended for busy
trains. Further guidance or help around this would be great as it
looks like I may be paying 11 Euros every time we get on a train with
a pass that already cost me 1008 Euros."

I've bought plenty of rail passes over the years. The only seat reservations I've ever bought in the last 50 were reservations on DB's old IC Bus system (like Prague > Nuremberg,) reservations which WERE required but included in the ticket price.

I am doubtful that you will really need any reservations at all during your short visit.

What time of day will you travel? Avoiding weekday morning commuter hours should help. Business folks often use the ICE and other high-speed trains on routes to major cities.

What days will you travel? There's less crowding on days when schools and businesses are operational. Friday pms can be bad. Holiday travel days can be bad. If you expect it to be bad, your 1st class pass can be used in 2nd class. Maybe you can't find seats together, but you can probably find a couple near one another. When the train stops to let passengers off, you can grab an empty seat that's closer before the new passengers board.

Maybe your train ORIGINATES from your departure city. In this case, arrive early and board early, then grab an unreserved 1st class seat. Maybe the seat says reserved - but maybe it's reserved for a LATER segment beyond your destination.

It's unusual to buy a 15 day consecutive pass. Will you really use it to travel hefty distances every day?

Maybe a 7-day pass (for long trips) with individual tickets for any shorter trips you might take is better. You do know that the pass you bought can be refunded for a 15% fee, right? And do you also know that there's an "Autumn pass promotion" with a 10% discount for the 7, 10 and 15-day FLEXI pass which is now available for sale? The normal 7-day twin-pass flexi pass is €638 minus the 10% discount.

"Autumn Special German Rail Pass promotion"
- 10% discount on all German Rail passes for 7, 10 or 15 days of travel for individual travellers
- Booking period: 1 November until 10 December 2022
- Travel period: 1 November 2022 until 31 January 2023

Link: https://www.bahn.com/en/offers/passes/german-rail-pass

Price table with standard pricing: https://assets.static-bahn.de/dam/jcr:8ba56c5d-e4d9-4063-bd1b-bc8b4dab6e8f/GermanRailPass2022_BahnCom.pdf

Posted by
383 posts

The normal 7-day twin-pass flexi pass is €638 minus the 10% discount

@Russ, that is not correct ... the Autumn Special is only valid for individual passes (3, 4 or 5 days only, consecutive or flexi) and not the twin pass since you're already getting a total 15% discount with that pass.

Posted by
5726 posts

@DQ: Ah yes - I focused on "all German Rail passes" and missed the "individual travelers" at the end - But the DB page I linked to clearly states that the 7, 10 and 15-day passes are discounted - not 3, 4 and 5-day passes. I copied and pasted the text from that page.

@craig: So assuming the REGULAR price for the 7-day first-class twin-pass in my example, the math for this pass works as follows:

€1008 pass refunded, 15% fee = €151

7-day pass (€638) + €151 fee = €789, which leaves you €219 in your pocket to handle whatever shorter trips you might be taking.

Now, what's not clear here at all is WHAT JOURNEYS you actually have planned. My 7-day suggestion was only that - a suggestion. Maybe you're actually doing only 2-5 long trips... maybe a 3-5-day flexi pass is all you would want for those. That's a plus for you (you get a discounted pass) if DQ happens to be right and the DB site is wrong.

Shorter journeys: If you're making one-way journeys or round-trip outings within BAVARIA, as so many RS folks seem to do, it's possible that using a rail-pass travel day isn't necessary or desirable. The Bayern Ticket (yes, it's available in FIRST class) is a day pass valid for an unlimited number of trips all over the huge state of Bavaria. The Baden-Württemberg Ticket (for use the western segment of southern German) also comes in first class and works the same way.

Main points:

  • Share your itinerary details and the train journeys you plan to make in order to get good ticketing advice.

  • Unless you are overnighting in a different town every night of your trip, (ugggh) it's very possibly a good idea to eat the €151 fee with a refund on your consecutive pass. With the €1008 15-day pass, you are spending €67/day on transport - whether you actually travel or not. The 1st-class Bayern Ticket might work out for you just fine - and it's only €58.50/couple/day. The B-W ticket I mentioned in 1st-class is just €47/couple/day. And with both, you buy only the number of days you actually need to travel.

Posted by
383 posts

But the DB page I linked to clearly states that the 7, 10 and 15-day passes are discounted - not 3, 4 and 5-day passes

@Russ, the DB site is definitely confusing ... on the Offers / Travel Passes / German Rail Pass page, it states ' "Autumn Special" German Rail Pass promotion - 10% discount on all German Rail passes for 7, 10 or 15 days of travel for individual travellers ... when you click the Select "Autumn Special" pass link, you go to the Products: German Rail Pass Autumn Special page (which starts the purchasing process), where it states 'The "Autumn Special 2022" offer as a 3, 4 or 5-day pass' ... and when you open the Ticket Type dropdown menu, it only has the 3, 4 or 5 day pass ... I guess the DB IT team didn't do a thorough QA on this ... I'm glad I have my 7 day flexi twin pass and don't have to figure out how to actually do this one.

Posted by
5726 posts

Wow, no minor error there... How has DB not caught this yet? They've been selling these disounted passes for 2 weeks +.

Posted by
4 posts

Good evening. Thanks all.

The commentary has been both helpful and interesting to read as some of you have discovered the more bizarre nuances of the Bahn site as well as the comparison to the Eurail offerings. It certainly wasn't super easy to compare until the realization was made that the rail pass is a TWINS pass for two people with the discount already built in.

As far as the itinerary, how many days, where we are staying, etc., etc., none of that is relevant. Going back to original post, we wanted flexibility to travel whenever and wherever we want, to travel in first, to not have to run to trains all the time when we can simply take the next one as it's a flat-rate, all-you-can-ride pass. And no, we're not moving every night. The plan is four main cities in 15 days where we use the cities as hubs from which to travel (via train) to anything and everything we want to see and do.

In that context the German Rail Twins Pass 15 Consecutive Days makes sense.

I'll roll the dice on the seat reservations. Looks like my best resource is the DB app to see how crowded a train will be and to go from there.

Thanks again for the help.

Craig

Posted by
5726 posts

Going back to original post, we wanted flexibility to travel whenever
and wherever we want, to travel in first, to not have to run to trains
all the time when we can simply take the next one as it's a flat-rate,
all-you-can-ride pass. And no, we're not moving every night. The plan
is four main cities in 15 days where we use the cities as hubs from
which to travel (via train) to anything and everything we want to see
and do.

In that context the German Rail Twins Pass 15 Consecutive Days makes
sense.

Well, it makes sense to you. I of course read your original post. And now that you've posted a vague outline of your intentions ("4 main cities in 15 days where we use the cities as hubs from which to travel...") I am pretty confident that you are still somewhat confused and/or in the dark about how transportation in Germany actually works... and about how you will do outings from your hubs.

Knowing the other transportation "wizards" on this forum, I think most would likely agree that your railpass of choice is pricey overkill for the nature of your plans. But they can speak for themselves.

Your chosen German rail pass is in fact very unlikely to get you to all the places you want to go; unlike the Bayern Ticket Day pass, the MVV day passes/tickets, and day passes in other metropolitan centers around the country, the GR Twinpass is useless for travel on the subway, streetcar, and bus systems which you will need to use if you are visiting sights in/near main cities like Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Stuttgart and numerous others. A couple can travel to multiple points all day long in such places with these day passes. They are what you said you wanted - "flat-rate, all-you-can-ride" passes. AND... the local/regional day passes for these transport options ALSO provide TRAIN transportation for outings like the ones you have in mind. So even if it's only trains that you need to get to a certain place, with a rail pass, you're often riding the exact same trains the day passes use, but you're paying more per day. And then you will have to buy ADDITIONAL tickets to fill in the public transport gaps that the rail pass creates for certain destinations.

As far as the itinerary, how many days, where we are staying, etc.,
etc., none of that is relevant.

It absolutely is relevant for the trip outline you provided, assuming that things like convenience, price, and actually reaching your day trip destinations are things that matter to you. If your goal were just to ride trains somewhere, anywhere, every day or almost every day, and maybe for most of the day, then the rail pass strategy you have now wouldn't be that bad a plan.

Not trying to be nosy about where you'll be in Germany - that's no concern of mine - just trying to respond to your post, which sadly calls for a solution that's more complex than the "railpass-only" solution you were hoping for.

Post more-specific plans if you want a transport strategy that will actually get you around as you hope to do.

Posted by
2140 posts

Craig, re: seat reservations, I traveled around Germany for a month earlier this year entirely by train, and the only time I reserved a seat was for the trip to Copenhagen from Hamburg. And that was because DB recommended it and the site showed that the train was going to be crowded.

However, I really think you don't need to worry about it, especially since you are traveling in first class. Most of the crowds, if any, will be in second class. Good luck and have a great trip!