I booked a Deutsche Bahn online ticket for friends and me. I paid with my credit card, so the ticket lists my name and credit card number.

Now, I can’t make it to the tour, and another friend of mine would take my place.

If I hand the online ticket and credit card to my friends, can they make the tour without me?

2 Answers 2


By regulation no. For the online ticket, the ticket has an owner (you) that needs to be present with the identification card for the ticket to be valid:

Online-Tickets are non-transferable and are only valid for the person named during booking (and travellers accompanying them, if applicable). The tickets are valid only in connection with the traveller's selected identification card.

In practice, they swipe the card and if it's not entirely obvious that the wrong person has handed them the credit card (e.g. obvious male name on card given by a female person) they most likely won't notice. Doesn't make it legal though.

  • 2
    I would not count on this. They sometimes (I would say 10%) do check my identification card (or drivers license), so something with a picture. And I own a BaHnCard and am German, for foreigners I would expect that they check even more thoroughly.
    – dirkk
    Commented May 11, 2015 at 14:26
  • 4
    @dirkk: That's of course possible. I never needed to show an ID (though I have a BahnCard, too) and haven't witnessed that either (maybe you look much older/younger? BahnCards have the age printed on it). But yes, they specifically reserve the right to check a photo ID for those cases.
    – neo
    Commented May 11, 2015 at 15:19
  • The age is printed on the BC? Unless it is printed in some cryptic format, this is not the case for my BahnCard. Also, I do hope I look roughly the age I really am... Maybe my 10% estimate is a bit too high, but it might be just because I travel a lot with DB and had to do it quite a few times.
    – dirkk
    Commented May 11, 2015 at 15:53
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    @dirkk: Yes, in the lower right with a "9" in front of it. That's interesting to hear, because I also travel quite a lot (right on the edge, where a BC100 is not worth it) and never had that happen to me.
    – neo
    Commented May 11, 2015 at 21:17

The rules concerning this question have changed as of 1 October 2016 and Deutsche Bahn no longer requires an identification card but only an official identity document (or their Bahncard).

Per their help pages (in German, I was unable to find an English version)

Ab dem 01.10.2016: Identifikation per amtlichen Lichtbildausweis

Bei Buchungen nach dem 01.10.2016 entfällt die Angabe einer Identifikationskarte. Bei der Kontrolle im Zug müssen Sie sich dann lediglich durch Vorzeigen eines amtlichen Lichtbildausweises oder Ihrer BahnCard legitimieren.

Folgende Lichtbildausweise werden anerkannt:

  • deutscher Personalausweis
  • deutscher Reisepass
  • Kinderreisepass
  • europäischer Personalausweis
  • internationaler Reisepass
  • elektronischer Aufenthaltstitel
  • Bescheinigung über die Meldung Asylsuchender (BüMa)
  • BahnCard (ggf. in Verbindung mit einem Lichtbildausweis)

Es gelten nicht: Führerscheine, Schülerausweise, Truppenausweise und Schwerbehindertenausweise.

which summarizes to what I have stated above. The man in seat sixty-one has already reflected these changes:

If you wanted to use a German Railways print-at-home ticket (shown as online ticket on bahn.de) you used to have to show your credit or debit card as I.D. on board the train. I'm glad to say that this changed in October 2016, all you now need is a passport or other recognised ID to prove your name to support a print-at-home online ticket. You may or may not be asked for it by the conductor.

If your friend travelled with your ticket they would essentially be travelling without a valid ticket and if controlled and asked for I.D. would have to pay the full fine for fare dodging.

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    I assume OP's next question would be "If I give over my passport and my ticket to my friend..."
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 8:33
  • 1
    @JonathanReez "If my friend legally changes his name to the same as mine..." Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 10:39

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