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United Partners with Lufthansa and Deutsche Bahn for Rail Connections in Frankfurt

United passengers can now combine rail tickets from 25 destinations with transatlantic flights out of Frankfurt

by Fergus Cole

November 27, 2023

Photo: Deutsche Bahn train. Courtesy of Daniel Abadia

Passengers flying with United Airlines to Frankfurt can now purchase rail connections in Germany through a new agreement with Lufthansa and Deutsche Bahn.

Starting on Wednesday, November 22, the ‘Intermodal Partnership’ expansion allows United passengers flying out of Frankfurt Airport (FRA) to book rail connections to Frankfurt from 25 different locations across Germany and from Basel in Switzerland. This means they can now purchase a single combined fare for their flight and rail connection, simplifying their travel arrangements.

Photo: United Airlines, Boeing 767-300ER. Courtesy of Fraport – Frankfurt Airport

Under the terms of the agreement, passengers will receive a boarding pass for both their rail journey and their flight when checking in and will get priority baggage handling in the AiRail check-in area at Frankfurt Airport.

Meanwhile, United MileagePlus members can earn miles for their rail journey and flight, and eligible members can use Deutsche Bahn’s various lounges across Germany. Customers will also be protected should they miss their connecting flight due to rail delays or breakdowns.

The integrated rail and air tickets will be available on transatlantic flights to United’s hubs at New York/Newark (EWR), Chicago (ORD), Washington (IAD), Houston (IAH), Denver (DEN), and San Francisco (SFO), as well as to connecting destinations on United’s network throughout the Americas.

The 25 eligible rail stations with Deutsch Bahn connections to Frankfurt include major destinations across Germany, such as Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart, Cologne, Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Nuremberg, and many more regional cities and towns, as well as Basel, Switzerland.

Photo: Courtesy of Fraport – Frankfurt Airport Terminal 2

“We are excited to announce our new partnership with Lufthansa and Deutsche Bahn,” said Patrick Quayle, Senior Vice President of Global Network Planning and Alliances at United. “This new collaboration will offer our customers even greater travel choice and flexibility, allowing convenient connections between 25 cities across Germany and the United States with just one convenient transfer at Frankfurt Airport, all on a single ticket.”

The agreement with Deutsche Bahn is the latest expansion of Star Alliance’s Intermodal Partnership model, launched in July 2022. The model attempts to enhance the travel experience and offer seamless connections to Star Alliance carriers, of which Lufthansa is also a member, by combining airfares and routes with rail, bus, and ferry systems.

The model aims to facilitate enhanced convenience for passengers and allows them greater opportunity to earn miles and rewards by linking frequent flyer programs, such as United’s Mileage Plus, to the intermodal transport links.

Photo: Courtesy of Fraport – Frankfurt Airport

“We are thrilled to see our innovative Intermodal Partnership Model extend to a significant member of Star Alliance – United Airlines,” said Renato Ramos, Vice President of Corporate Strategy at Star Alliance. “Initiatives like this foster greater collaboration among modes of transport, providing enhanced convenience and flexibility for customers. This marks another step towards a seamlessly integrated travel ecosystem, aligning with our collective vision for the Alliance.”

Stefan Kreuzpaintner, Senior Vice President of Network, Alliances, and Partnerships at Deutsche Lufthansa AG, said: “Connecting amazing places on both sides of the Atlantic has never been so easy.┬áTogether with our partners, we have consistently expanded our intermodal services in recent years in many European countries.

“In Germany, Lufthansa offers a rail alternative to every domestic feeder flight to Frankfurt. This new partnership is another milestone in the successful Lufthansa Express Rail program. It offers travelers to and from the USA a convenient, comfortable journey – a real premium product.”