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Which Bahnhof in Frankfurt?

We will be arriving by train from Rothenburg ob der Tauber into Frankfurt on Sunday, August 10th for our flight back to the U.S. Do we want to take the train into Frankfurt (M) Flughafen Regionalbahnhof or Fernbahnhof? Also, how much time would you allow to check in, get to the gate, etc. If we arrived by train with 2 hours and 25 minutes before our flight, is that enough time to do what we need to do? Thanks for your help.

Posted by
43 posts

Thanks for the feedback. According to bahn.de, we only have a few options. We can either arrive at Fernbhf at 10:21am or 11:57am or at Regionalbhf at 10:28am or 12:12pm for an American Airlines 2:25pm flight. We do have a railpass so that isn't an issue. I'm just worried about our timing. I guess hanging out in the airport wouldn't be so bad. What do you think? Would AA be in terminal 1 or 2? I trust and appreciate you opinions. Thanks. Good luck to you too Gary.

Posted by
1354 posts

The two train stations at the airport only a few minutes walk apart. Get the best train connection.

There has been some discussions on other boards about how early to arrive for a flight from FRA. I have followed them with interest as we are flying out of FRA (vs Munich) for the first time this year. Folks that departed early in the morning said that two hours were plenty. It seems that as the day progresses, the waits increase. I believe that some airlines are recommending 3 hours. Good luck to both of us.

Regards, Gary

Posted by
100 posts

Flughafen Regionalbahnhof I was told would probably give you the most frequent connections- if you miss one train another will be along soon. Its pretty much right below the airport terminal- maybe a 10 minute walk to some gates.

Our recent trip we arrived at the terminal for check-in about 2.5 hours ahead for a Tuesday 11:10am USAir, which was adequately early in our case, but all it takes is one long line at the ticket counter, at security, or maybe a delayed train( or maybe all three) and you might get nervous. I would have preferred to be there at the airport a full 3 hrs ahead, but lost 30 mins along the way.

The lines were not excessive, but in this world of cancelled flights, non-refundable fares, oversold flights, strikes, etc. you have to travel defensively.

Posted by
8100 posts

Ditto the other 2 replies. There is a train leaving Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof going to the airport every 10 min. or so, except really early in the morning or late at night, and it doesn't really matter which station they are going to at the airport. I too, recommend trying to arrive 3 hours before a flight to the States. One never knows if a train will be delayed. I have been stuck on a train due to breakdowns, etc. several times, for over a half hour. If there is a possibility to arrive in Frankfurt a bit earlier, I would take it. If all goes well, you will end up with time to spare and then go shopping or hang out at McDonalds at Terminal 2 and watch the planes come in.

Posted by
18296 posts

Depends on a number of things.

What airline are you flying? Luftahansa and United use Terminal 1. It is much more convenient to the stations than is Terminal 2. You need more time to get to Termninal 2 from the stations. Also, some US airlines have only one flight to the US a day and ergo fewer people for check in. I waited 3 hours to check in for a NWA flight (Terminal 2); 2 hours has been more than enough for Lufthansa flights.
Are you using a rail pass? If not, the cost diff between express trains to the Fernbf and regional trains and S-Bahns to the Regionalbf could be a factor.


All things considered, I would probably use the Regionalbf. It probably takes 10 min longer to get from the Fernbf platforms to Terminal 1 than to come up the escalators from the tracks in the Regionalbf.

Posted by
18296 posts

American Airlines uses Terminal 1, Hall (Concourse) C. So that is good news. The Regionalbf is under the building across the street, connected by an under-street mall. You can come up escalators from the tracks, cross under the street, then up another set of escalator/stairs right to the check in counters.

I think there are more options. Besides some regional trains which leave from the ground level of the Hbf, there are also S-Bahns from the underground station arriving every 15 minutes. Instead of changing at the Hbf, you can get off the Würzburg train (at least the regional train) in Hanau. It's a much easier change, and take the S-Bahn into the airport.

Posted by
18296 posts

OK, I'm beginning to see your dilema. It's Sunday. The only trains leaving Rothenburg for Würzburg are at 7:06 and 9:06. If you take the 7:06 train you get in 4 hours early, but if you take the 9:06, you'll have less than 2½ hours.

If you leave Rothenburg at 7:06, you'll have 40 minutes to kill in Würzburg (time for a quick breakfast to make up for the early departure?). Then you'll catch the 8:56 ICE. That train goes directly to the Fernbahnhof. There would be no reason to get off the train in Frankfurt, go down to the tief (deep) S-Bahn station, just to get into the airport 7 minutes later. Stay on the ICE to the airport Fernbahnhof.

OTOH, the 9:06 presents more of a dilema. Both options (Fernbf & Regbf) use the 10:36 IC out of Würzburg. If you stay on, you can go all the way to the Fernbahnhof at 11:57. Else, you can make a ground level change at Frankfurt Hbf and get into the Regionalbf at 12:12. I don't like either of those options. German Rail says you can walk from the Fernbf to Terminal 1 in 10 minutes. Usually they are conservative, but in this case, I don't know. However, you would probably get there in less than 15 min, which would still be before the Regbf option.

I think considering you have railpasses, that the Fernbahnhof option is the best for either time.

If it were I, and I was flying Lufthansa, I would not hesitate to cut it to less than 2½ hours. However, I don't know about AA. I think I would play it safe and go with the 10:21 arrival.

Posted by
1354 posts

If you have a rail pass and come by IC or ICE from Würzburg, you will have no connection in Frankfurt but come straight to the airport Fernbahnhof. Plus the trip takes less time.

Regards, Gary

Posted by
43 posts

I think we need to take the early 7:06am train from Rothenburg and arrive at Fernbahnhof at 10:21am. Great idea to grab breakfast in Wurzburg since we have 40 minutes. Then we can relax at the Frankfurt airport and spend our extra Euro on McDonald's or wherever. I'd rather do it that way than to be all stressed out or miss our flight. Thanks for understanding our dilema and for the help.

Posted by
203 posts

The Frankfurt airport can be a zoo. It's a long story, but I got there 2 1/2 hours before my flight, and by the time I got to check-in, Lufthansa had given away my seat; it took some fast talking by a kind agent who knew I was traveling with elderly parents to get my seat back. Allowing yourself 2 hours and 25 minutes is probably OK, but it would make me uncomfortable. I'd go for the earlier train.

Posted by
1354 posts

Karen,

We had the same thing happen to us. We arrived about almost 3 hours early at Munich airport to find that Lufthansa had overbooked the flight and that already more folks had checked-in than could take the flight. We were a family of 4.

They got us home with Swiss Air via Zurich and reimbursed us generously for our trouble. Still, I had to wonder how often this happened. It caused us a hectic day. We had to re-claim and re-check our bags in Zurich (?) and were standby on the plane out of Zurich.

Regards, Gary