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Munich Airport and Train Reservations

My husband and I arrive in Munich next week and need to make a train reservation from the airport to Nurnberg. Our flight lands at 2:00 pm and we will each have a carry-on bag - no checked luggage. How much time should we allow to clear immigration before booking a train? Is it advisable to reserve now or purchase our ticket when we arrive at the airport? Thanks!

Posted by
22270 posts

Personally I would purchase after arrival. Lots of things can go wrong prior to arrival including the original flight being extremely delayed or cancelled. Clearing immigration in Munich is pretty efficient. I would allow 90 minutes at the most and probably an hour would be OK.

We have for years given ourselves a three to five hours window to catch connecting flights or trains with no problem. UNTIL -- two trips back when our original flight was cancelled as we prepared for take off. Took three days to re-book so we missed our connecting, independent flight. We figure the savings from earlier trips covered the cost of the flight we missed.

Posted by
1909 posts

Why should you reserve seats for this trip? There are numerous trains between Munich and Nuremberg and they are rarely so full that there would be no more space. To save money, you could travel with a Bayern Ticket (€34/2, available at vending machines or via the DB app) and regional transport. Make sure to take a train of line R1 from the main station, because that one is relatively fast, while the others are quite slow. The next available one for you would be at 16:22 from the main station, so you would have to take the S-Bahn (S8) from the airport at 15:23 at the latest. If your flight is on time that would be easy (without checked luggage, it takes at most 45 min from the gate to the S-Bahn). Your other choice is to buy a standard ticket for the ICE (from approx. €30 p.p. including S-Bahn).

Posted by
5726 posts

"Saver fare" tickets will incur a penalty if you pre-purchase and cannot travel at the hour specified on your ticket. NOT good.

"Standard" tickets as sla019 calls them or "Flex price" tickets are refundable AND flexible for the entire day for which they are purchased. As long as you arrive at the airport on the day scheduled, you can travel at any hour on the same train route. So pre-purchase is a safer bet. However, you save nothing over the price you'd pay on the day of travel at the airport itself, AND they are actually more expensive than sla019 says, like €61.60 each! Seat reservations are extra. NOT very good.

The Bayern Ticket day pass is also flexible for the date purchased in your case (valid from 9 am on.) The train type is restricted, however, to REGIONAL TRAINS. These trains do make your trip slightly longer. But the price (€34/2) is fixed no matter the destination in Bavaria. And when you reach Nuremberg, you can use the Bayern Ticket on public transport (U-bahn, bus, etc.) Use the ticket at any hour for your arrival date. The ticket is non-refundable. Seat reservations are not possible. You can pre-purchase it if you wish, or buy it at the airport.

Bayern Ticket, regional trains: the following departures from MUC look advantageous.

15:23 - 17:52, 1 change of train
16:11 - 18:48, 1 change of train

(There are additional, less desirable regional-train-only departures which take longer and/or require additional changes of train.)

Flex-Preis (or saver fare) ticket, includes high speed trains between Munich central station and Nuremberg only: these departures look pretty desirable despite the high price:

15:11 - 17:23, 1 change of train
15:23 - 17:32, 1 change of train
16:04 - 18:01, 1 change of train
16:23 - 18:28, 1 change of train

Because the time advantage of the high-speed trains is minimal in light of the much higher cost, I would definitely opt for the Bayern Ticket and the regional trains.

My sample date was a random one for next week. Check options for your specific date at the DB site.

Click on "only local transport" to view the regional train / Bayern Ticket options.

Posted by
1909 posts

"Saver fare" tickets will incur a penalty if you pre-purchase and cannot travel at the hour specified

The "penalty" being the total loss of the ticket (super saver fares are non-refundable by definition, saver fare only until the day before the trip). So they Bayern ticket and the R1 trains are the way to go.

Posted by
18558 posts

Buying your ticket from the Muinch Flughafen to Nürnberg is not much different than buying a bus ticket home after you arrive in the US after the trip. There are a lot of train connections going from MUC to Nürnberg. Just find the best one available after you land.

Posted by
18558 posts

BTW, several airlines offer what is called "Rail & Fly" with German Rail. There is a list of airlines on the Bahn website; I don't see United or Delta, but I do see American and Lufthansa, also Icelandair. With Rail & Fly, your flight ticket to a German airport will include a coupon valid on any German train to any German rail station, on the day of arrival or the following day. Unlike a SparPreis ticket, it is not train specific, and you can take any train that day, including ICEs, ICs, ECs, or any regional trains. So if your flight arrives late, no problem; just jump on the next train to wherever you want to go.

On Lufthansa, a one-way, 2nd class Rail & Fly ticket is 30€/P.

Posted by
1 posts

Per Sla019,
"Why should you reserve seats for this trip? There are numerous trains between Munich and Nuremberg and they are rarely so full that there would be no more space"

Q: Would the same be true for arriving Friday, 12/16/22 at 1310?

Posted by
630 posts

Definitely purchase the tickets at the airport train station. Nothing like your flight being delayed or cancelled to put a crimp in your travel plans.

Posted by
1909 posts

Would the same be true for arriving Friday, 12/16/22 at 1310?

The afternoon departures of the RE 1 from Munich main station to Nuremberg are at minute 4 after the hour (minute 5 after 6pm). To catch these trains, you have to leave MUC one hour before at the latest (you are, of course, free to take an earlier S8). The RE1 trains pull into the main station station roughly 10 min before departure. So you should be on the platform by that time and go to the head of the train (most people are too lazy to walk that far), and you will find a seat.

To check your options look up the DB web site and specify "local transport only" and "fastest connections". Then you will get all combinations of S8 and RE1.

NB. Beware of other connections via Regensburg or Treuchtlingen, which are much slower.