Please note: all our trip reports are independently written and based on our own experiences. All links and recommendations are not sponsored, unless explicitly labelled as such.
This trip took place in June 2019.
We recently did reports about trips on specific airlines and aircraft (and will do so in future), but for sure there are other means of transport that travelers all around the world use every day. Like coaches. You find them almost everywhere in the world, in different sizes and with different comfort standards. Flixbus is a German company that has grown to be the largest scheduled intercity bus operator in Germany, one of the largest in Europe and is currently expanding into the USA. The company is operating since 2011, as the domestic market for intercity passenger transport was liberalized by a change in the Passenger Transportation Act that previously only allowed scheduled intercity connections by train, but not by bus. With the change of that, many bus operators started services throughout Germany, but after consolidations in the following years, Flixbus turned out to be the largest operator with a market share of 95% in the German market in 2018, only followed by Eurolines (2%) which has recently been acquired by the Flixbus parent company Flixmobility, Regiojet and IC-Bus (both 1%) (Source). Here’s about our experience with them:
Booking a Flixbus ticket is easy. You can either do it in advance through local travel agencies, at many of their stations, on their website www.flixbus.de and through their app. Besides that you can also buy a ticket directly from the driver, but keep in mind, that the price will be higher than.
We booked our tickets by using their app, which is quite convenient, as you also instantly have your tickets saved on your phone and you don’t need to print it. As they have sales and coupons from time to time, it is always a good idea to consult the search engine of your choice, to look out for some discount codes.
We booked a trip from Düsseldorf to Hannover, which is a little longer than four hours, almost 1.5 hours longer than the fastest train on that route. And that is one of the most important reasons why people in Germany choose to travel by bus instead of train: the price. Our ticket was priced at 13.99 EUR per Person, plus a 1.50 EUR fee for an optional seat reservation and 0.23 EUR as CO2 compensation. The cheapest available Deutsche Bahn intercity train at the time of our booking would’ve costed almost 3 times as much. Seats in the first four rows can be reserved, in the rest of the bus there’s free seating. Besides reserving a seat, you can also book extra luggage (one bag of 20 Kg is included with every ticket), bike transportation (9€, not available on every bus) and insurance during the booking process.
Our trip was quite smooth. The bus already stood at the station when we arrived 20 minutes before departure, the bus driver scanned our mobile tickets, if you have luggage, it will be stored than.
Inside the bus, the seats are quite comfortable and so is the legroom, there are power outlets (USB and/or sockets) in every row and each seat has a reading light and ventilation in the overhead panel. All seats are equipped with seatbelts, you can adjust the back rest to lean back a little and the aisle seat is also movable, so after leaving a station you can move it into the galley a little, so both passengers have a little more room.
In the seat pockets there should be an information about all the amenities on board and the snack and drink prices. You can buy snacks and drinks from the driver (cash only), there’s a toilet in the middle of the bus and security informations are listed. Free WiFi is available as well, to keep it running for all passengers, video and music streaming services are blocked from use via WiFi.
During booking and in the app, you can see the stops your bus makes along the route. In our case it was stopping in Essen and Dortmund, both stops were short, but in Dortmund there was time enough to go to the restrooms or get a coffee or snack at the small station shop.
The bus driver was friendly, the WiFi was working, and even if it was hot outside, the cabin was well tempered. The bus was almost full the whole trip, but it wasn’t too loud, sleeping would’ve been possible. We felt comfortable during our four hours on the bus. What could’ve been improved was the signing of reserverd seats, as not everybody knew, that the first four rows can be reserved. A sticker or sign on those seats would definitely be good, also to avoid discussions when a reserved seat is already occupied by a person that didn’t pay for it.
In case anything wasn’t as good as expected, you’ll receive an E-Mail after your trip, so you can rate your experience and send a compliment, complaint or suggestion.
Our conclusion is that we had a comfortable trip for a low price and can recommend Flixbus. There wasn’t a huge different in time traveling on bus or train, so the bus was a good choice. On longer trips, we’d chose the train over the bus, as driving from the autobahn into the cities to stop costs a lot of time, plus the restroom situation on trains is better and there usually is a restaurant car. If you want to save money, the bus is a good option on longer trips as well, you have to choose what is more important for you.
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