Getting There: Aachen

Flying SAS

I love flying Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) because they always have the best prices and great service. On this trip I paid $570 roundtrip, Chicago to Dusseldorf. This is more expensive than I’d usually pay, but given I booked late and was flying over the Thanksgiving holiday, this seemed like a fair price. 

SAS always provides a pillow, blanket, headphones, and a water bottle for their Chicago to Europe flights. SAS serves a dinner after takeoff and a light meal before landing. On this flight SAS served chicken, rice, veggies, salad, bread, cheese, and a dessert. Overall, the meal was super tasty. 

When you book your flight you can elect a specific meal like vegetarian or gluten free if you have dietary restrictions. I booked the cheapest ticket, so if I wanted a specific meal I’d have to pay extra. The hot food came with a lid detailing the ingredients, and this was an allergy safe meal for me.

Layover in Stockholm

I had a short layover in Stockholm before continuing onto Dusseldorf. After landing in Sweden I had to go through customs. Thankfully customs was nearly empty, and I sped through. After customs I went through security again before continuing onto my next flight. This meant getting rid of any liquids over 100 milliliters. I downed my water, went through security, and found my next flight to Dusseldorf.

Arriving in Dusseldorf

The flight to Dusseldorf was two hours. This flight seemed to be a budget flight because only coffee, tea, and water were free for passengers who weren’t in business class. Juices, soda, and food packages were available for purchase. 

I was surprised when I landed in Dusseldorf because I expected to go through customs again since we were entering a different country. However, we didn’t go through customs; I assume this is because Sweden and Germany are both in the European Union. It was great landing in Dusseldorf because it was so quick to get off the plane and find the train I needed.

Landing in Germany
Three Trains to Aachen

After landing in Dusseldorf I had to take 3 trains before I finally arrived in Aachen. The first train was a transfer train from the terminal to the Dusseldorf Airport Station, also known as “Dusseldorf Flughafen.” There were signs with a picture of the train pointing me towards this first train. It took maybe 5 minutes to get to Dusseldorf Flughafen. 

When I arrived at the Flughafen station there were kiosks to get tickets to Dusseldorf Hbf, the main city train station. I had a hard time with some of the kiosks because there were different types of kiosks, and I wasn’t sure what type of ticket to buy. I’m still not sure what exactly I bought, but it seemed to work.

I got a ticket from Dusseldorf Flughafen to Dusseldorf Hbf. Right next to the kiosks is a small box that punched the time and date onto the ticket. Be sure to stick your ticket in there so it’s validated when you travel. The conductors didn’t check my ticket, but I saw everyone else punching their ticket with the date. I assumed it was the required thing to do.

Fifteen minutes later we were at Dusseldorf Hbf. I purchased a train ticket from Dusseldorf Hbf to Aachen Hbf prior to my trip. My confirmation email stated passengers need to print out the ticket at the train station. Dusseldorf Hbf was incredibly chaotic, and no one was in the help center. Thankfully, I found a section of the station labeled DB in red where I was able to print out my ticket. You can buy tickets on the spot too. 

This train made a lot of stops and there wasn’t wifi on board. I enjoyed watching the countryside during the two hour ride though. Aachen Hbf was much calmer and smaller than Dusseldorf Hbf.

Large Lockers
Small Lockers
Lockers at Aachen Hbf

There are lockers at Aachen Hbf, which I used while exploring the city during my first day in Aachen. Two important notes on the lockers:

Bring coins! The locker initially charged me 3 Euro to lock up my bag. I saw other lockers with numbers as high as 20.00 listed on the keypad. Those were for bags left in the lockers for long periods of time. The owners would have to pay the 20 Euro to get their bag out. I had to pay an additional 3 Euro when I returned for my bags. 

Pack small! There are 20 or so large lockers as seen above, but these were all filled. I took stuff out of my suitcase and shoved it into one of the small lockers. If you can’t pack small, you may have to do what I did and remove things from your bags to get everything to fit. 

Paying for Bathrooms

A final note on my travel day:  be sure to carry coins for the bathrooms. Almost everywhere in Germany charged me to use the bathroom. The highest I paid for using the bathroom was 1 Euro. It seemed ridiculous to pay to use the bathroom given they are free to use in the United States, but that is the norm in Germany. I just made sure I always had 50 cent to 1 Euro coins.

One thought on “Getting There: Aachen

  1. It sounds like you had a long trip to get to Germany. 2 planes and 3 trains you must have been exhausted! I stay in the UK and paying for bathrooms here depending on where you are is normal. I wouldn’t normally pay for them while shopping or cafe these are usually free but I would expect to pay for them at train stations and bus stations.


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