On some seats it says 'ggf. reserviert'. What does this mean? Can I sit in the seat?

2 Answers 2


“ggf.” stands for gegebenenfalls or “possibly”. It means the seat has been set aside in the railway booking system for last minute reservations. The official website recommends not sitting there because it may actually be reserved. In practice, you can sit there without trouble as long as you are willing leave the seat if someone does show up with a reservation (this is actually one of the tips to find an empty seat I found on a local newspaper's website). By contrast, there are also usually seats where the display is empty and those are definitely not reserved.

  • 1
    +1, though I wouldn't say that you can usually find seats where the display is empty. YMMV, but more often than not, by the time I enter a train, all those seats are already occupied.
    – Sabine
    Sep 4, 2023 at 13:17
  • Are these seats "blocked" (ie. I cannot click on them to choose them during my reservation)? Or I can still choose them but risk being kicked off by someone who reserved later than me (this would be wild)
    – WoJ
    Sep 4, 2023 at 13:56
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    @WoJ if it lets you reserve them (and you get a confirmation of that reservation), then you are the one who's doing the reserving
    – Hobbamok
    Sep 4, 2023 at 17:08
  • Thanks and can you clarify, 'free' there means not 'at no charge' but merely 'not reserved'? Sep 4, 2023 at 17:45
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    The sentence is actually funny because the literal meaning is "it is reserved if that is the case". Wittgenstein could not agree more ;-). Sep 5, 2023 at 11:51

It says that the seat may be reserved, but that at the time of departure (when the reservations were loaded) it wasn't. This because people can still reserve seats after the train has already started its service.

  • Does this mean if nothing shows on the display it is impossible for that seat to become reserved? Are there fewer reservations available than free seats?
    – Tom
    Sep 3, 2023 at 16:43
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    @Tom The Man in Seat 61 says "ggf. reserviert - this means the train's on-board reservation system hasn't been updated with the latest information from the main DB reservation system. Usually all of the seats show this message if this happens. Seat reservations are still valid, but cannot be shown on the LED displays, so you can sit in these seats but you could be asked to move if someone shows up with a reservation. Sep 3, 2023 at 16:48
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    I am seeing it on a train that I am now which does have valid reservations on other seats
    – Tom
    Sep 3, 2023 at 16:58
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    You can sit in that seat if you accept that someone might come with a valid reservation and send you away.
    – Willeke
    Sep 3, 2023 at 17:09
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    @Tom The Man in Seat 61 is wrong with the statement, that usually all seats show the message if this happens. For example, if there's a train from Hamburg to Munich, all reservations that have been made by the time the train leaves Hamburg will show as regular reservations. The seats with "ggf. freigeben" are for those passengers that want to travel e.g. from Nuremberg to Munich and book a seat during the five hours when the train has already left Hamburg but not reached Nuremberg yet.
    – Sabine
    Sep 4, 2023 at 19:17

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