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I am about to buy a ticket from an Italian city to Frankfurt, and I just noticed that the ticket is much cheaper if I select Stuttgart as final destination.

The flight to Frankfurt is direct, whereas the flight to Stuttgart is via Frankfurt, the first leg on the same flight, and the second leg an a DB train carrying a proper LH flight code. I believe this is part of the Lufthansa Rail&Fly program, but I am not 100% sure. This should be part of Lufthansa Express Rail, as pointed in an answer below.

My question is the following: can I buy the second ticket for cheaper, and simply stop in Frankfurt? Will Lufthansa notice?

I will be checking a bag (which usually makes hidden city ticketing impossible), but for Rail&Fly Lufthansa clearly specifies that the checked bags are not transferred to the train, it's the passenger's responsibility to do so.

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  • If you will be traveling while airtravel is still disturbed a lot, like it is now under COVID 19 rules and lack of travel, you may end up flying to a different airport and a rail ticket (or other means of travel) to the final city on your ticket. – Willeke Feb 9 at 19:07
  • That's definitely something to keep in mind... Thanks a lot! – zakk Feb 9 at 19:08
  • You might also consider whether you'll be a Lufthansa customer in the future. Airlines understandably don't like customers taking advantage of hidden-city ticketing. If you have a Lufthansa frequent flyer account, its balance or existence may be imperiled. – DavidSupportsMonica Feb 9 at 19:47
  • @DavidSupportsMonica Good point! I'll live quite close to Frankfurt, so I'll probably be a Lufthansa customer quite often in the future... Maybe I shouldn't upset them too much! – zakk Feb 10 at 10:18
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    Sometimes it is worth it to actually travel to the city mentioned, for a day out or something like that, and buy a single ticket back home. (Or make use of an other option to get back.) – Willeke Feb 10 at 16:37
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One thing to note is, that this is not Rail&Fly, but rather it's named Express Rail.

The difference is, that with Rail&Fly you get a flexible train ticket to and from the airport, which is valid one day before departure as well as one day after arrival of your flight. Because of this flexibility, you are responsible to make it to the airport in time, i.e. you need to make sure, that you choose a connection which arrives early enough at the airport.

On the other hand, with Express Rail (which you have booked), you book a specific train under a Lufthansa flight number. In this case, it's the same as you would have booked a connecting flight, which also means, that in case of train delay, Lufthansa will rebook you onto the next available flight (in your case it doesn't matter, since the train segment is after the flight segment, but it's important in the reverse case). In those trains, at least in the past, they have specific Lufthansa employees, which also have checked that passengers booked for that specific segment were on the train (i read those reports on FlyerTalk). If you have a return flight afterwards, you might get problems, if they check specifically on your train and if they actually sync back those information to the Lufthansa booking centers.
If you don't have a return flight, then you will have no problems by leaving and not getting on the train in Frankfurt. For me personally, that would be the deciding factor. If i wouldn't have a return flight, i would book the hidden city, if i would have, i would book it only to Frankfurt.

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  • Thanks for the informative answer! I edited my question to reflect that it's not Rail&Fly, but it's Express Rail. – zakk Feb 9 at 19:32
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    One thing with train travel is that it is very hard to prove that you were not on a particular train. So LH would have a hard time making the claim that you skipped a sector hard. So you could probably even do this in the reverse direction. The "check in" is on-line, and will give you a train ticket, that you are free not to use. – Krist van Besien Feb 11 at 11:44
  • @KristvanBesien has that changed in the last 2/3 years? Last time I used Express Rail I didn't get a DB ticket but a Lufthansa boarding pass and seat reservation for the dedicated Lufthansa portion of the train, where it was checked by Lufthansa staff. Presumably it would not have been valid for travel in the rest of the train? – nekomatic Mar 2 at 12:29
  • @nekomatic. I wonder if LH would be able to make a hard case if your BP ended up not being scanned on that train... – Krist van Besien Mar 3 at 10:32

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