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Deutsche Bahn frequent traveller: a joke!

It has been a while since I last ranted about the Deutsche Bahn, our national train service monopoly. Out of necessity, I've since become one of their frequent travellers. Together with the spiffy, silver card, I received a pamphlet, in which the advantages of frequent travellers are listed.

When I compare those advantages to what was promised, I cannot help but notice quite a few differences to my disadvantage. Since I refused to believe that the Deutsche Bahn could be this stupid, I double-checked with the service hotline, and I now have the information to report:

  1. While the website promises "free access to DB lounges for two", the pamphlet clarifies this: free access to DB lounges for you and your partner, provided each of you owns a first-class, long-distance ticket. What they left out: Oh, you don't need the frequent traveller status for that, the ticket suffices. Or, put differently: the frequent traveller status does not give you any access to the lounges. False advertising, anyone?

  2. The pamphlet explains that there are special seat areas reserved for frequent travellers. However, one must not be a frequent traveller to use them. So should I expect people to prompt me to show my card or clear my seat. And should I be expected to prompt people to flash the card or leave? Not feasible, anyone?

  3. I am told that I get priority treatment at the counter, except there is only one counter (in Munich), usually with a line of people for 1st-class and frequent travellers. All other travellers get delegated to 12 counters by an efficient number system, which means one is better off picking a number and standing in line. The other day, a lady came and flashed her frequent traveller card, expecting people to make way, but obviously noone did. Did they actually think about this, anyone?

I don't need to go into detail on the other "benefits": they claim that there is special, reserved parking, but that's probably only on paper. They claim reductions in hotels and rental cars, but probably limited to availability, they claim exclusive events, but those are likely the ones noone goes to anyway. And they claim a service hotline, but it's a premium-rate number.

So all in all, Deutsche Bahn have once again managed to disappoint. The frequent traveller card does not give any benefits. It rather makes me regret having spent so much money on this company. Scratch "frequent traveller", make it "repeat idiot".

NP: Steven Wilson: Grace for Drowning