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The DB website says the following about Flexible tickets:

What trains can I take if I have a flexible ticket?

With the flexible fare you are not bound to a specific train. With a ticket for an ICE or any other long-distance train of the ICE product class, you can use all long-distance trains (e.g. ICE, RJ, RJX and IC/EC) as well as local and regional trains (e.g. IRE, RE, RB and S-Bahn) on the booked route and day. With a ticket of the IC/EC product class you can use all IC/EC as well as local and regional trains (e.g. IRE, RE, RB and S-Bahn) on the booked route and day.

Consider a trip via Deutsche Bahn from Bonn Hbf to Frankfurt(M) Flughafen Fernbf. There are typically two different pragmatic routes one can take:

  • Bonn Hbf -> Siegburg/Bonn -> Frankfurt(M) Flughafen Fernbf
  • Bonn Hbf -> Koblenz Hbf -> Frankfurt(M) Flughafen Fernbf

If one looks at the prices for Flexpreis tickets for these two routes on any given day one can see that there are two different prices for the two routes (82,50 Euro when going via Siegburg and 49 Euro when going via Koblenz) even when the selected itineraries for both routes use ICE trains. This would seem to imply that tickets purchased on the two routes can not be used interchangeably. Is this understanding correct? Is it possible to use flexible tickets purchased for the more expensive Siegburg route on the cheaper Koblenz route? Is it possible to buy a ticket that is valid across both routes?

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  • According to this, you need the ticket to see the restrictions. This document seems to indicate that the only allowed route is the Koblenz one Jul 11, 2023 at 10:29
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    See also: travel.stackexchange.com/q/132842/2509
    – gerrit
    Jul 11, 2023 at 11:29
  • @NicolasFormichella: The attached document is interesting, but only applicable for local trains. Deutschlandtarif does not cover long distance trains. Siegburg - Frankfurt has no local trains, so it cannot be listed. The question was about tickets including ICE.
    – Uwe Geuder
    Jul 18, 2023 at 22:23

1 Answer 1

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"On the booked route" is the key here. The route does not only include start and destination, but also routing instructions (German term "Wegevorschrift", VIA on the ticket).

The routing instruction may look something like this for ticket from Konstanz to Karlsruhe: VIA: SIN*(OG/S).

In this example, you need to go via Singen, and may then either a route via Offenburg or via Stuttgart.

For a list of abbreviations on this VIA, see here. If this link dies at some point, search for Leitpunktkuerzel.

In your specific example, your cheaper ticket will likely have a routing instruction that says you must indeed take the route that goes through Koblenz. It is not impossible that the more expensive ticket allows both routes, but I doubt it.

It should be possible to pay the the fare difference at a Deutsche Bahn ticket desk if you already have a ticket and decide to change the route.

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  • 3
    To understand how to parse the routing codes, see the answer to this question.
    – gerrit
    Jul 11, 2023 at 11:29
  • Is it possible to discover the routing code of a ticket online before purchasing it?
    – Muzer
    Jul 13, 2023 at 11:38
  • @Muzer Not that I'm aware of, unfortunately. You could buy a flexible ticket well ahead in the future and use the free cancellation it offers.
    – helm
    Jul 13, 2023 at 11:57
  • BTW, this is also the reason flexible tickets (FlexTickets) can have different prices: They have different VIA's respectively a different Wegevorschrift.
    – rugk
    Nov 18, 2023 at 0:17

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