Reviews

FlixBus Review – traveling Germany by Bus

This post is also available in: German

For my trip from Hamburg to Cologne I tried one of the numerous new long-distance bus companies – in this FlixBus review I analyze the advantages and disadvantages of traveling through germany by bus.

Background: Due to the amendment of a law the Deutsche Bahn doesn't have the exclusive right for long-haul ground transportation in Germany since january 2013 anymore. Therefore it is possible to travel much cheaper from one big city to the other by bus. Due to the low fares, the number of connections and the possibility to book online I chose the bus company FlixBus for my trip from Hamburg to Cologne.

Fares & Booking

You should consider booking as early as possible to make sure to get the best deal. Furthermore choosing unpopular dates for traveling could ensure much cheaper fares as well. Unfortunately the website is in German but I wrote this english How-to to help non-german speakers through the process.

My trip from Hamburg to Cologne has been just 17€ as it was a special offer (I booked 10 days in advance and chose a wednesday for the trip). The return trip was supposed to be on a Friday, therfore I had to pay the standard fare of 34€.

I booked online, the process was very straight forward and the payment via Paypal ran smoothly. I received an Email with the e-ticket attached (*.pdf) including information regarding the location of the bus stop and the time. After printing I easily checked in at the bus.

competitive comparison: A train ticket with Deutsche Bahn is about  86€ (standard fare) – you save 52€ (standard fare) if choosing the bus. Also HKX offers train connections for 48€ (Mon-Thu, Sat) and 78€ (Fri, Sun) – you save 14€ traveling during the week, or 44€ traveling around the weekend.

Sitzabstand im Bus
seat spacing

Service & Comfort

FlixBus is offering free WiFi on nearly all routes. The connection was not the fastest but it was sufficient and worked well on both trips. A good opportunity to work while on the road. Only plugs have been rare – there was just one possibility to charge your device in the whole bus.

The seats, the seat spacing and the whole interior have been standard – but everything was brand-new. Beside a small table and a seat pocket there was a foot rest and you could recline your seat for a little bit. Luggage could be placed inside the huge luggage space.

I was able to buy snacks and beverages from the driver. Moreover you have the possibility to use the toilette inside the bus – it was new and clean as well.

competitive comparison: The seats inside the ICEs of Deutsche Bahn are way more comfortable and offer more leg space. Moreover you're able to walk around on the train – a huge advantage! But there isn't the possibility of using free WiFi on the train.

 

Time (Duration & Punctuality)

This is one of the biggest disadvantages of this mode of transportation. In comparison to train and plane traveling by bus is a lot slower as you have to deal with traffic and sometimes with long waiting times due to traffic jams.

For my trip to cologne i needed 6,5 hrs and have been 30 min behind the schedule which was quite good. The return trip on friday afternoon has been 10h instead of 6h due to massive traffic and the fact that we had to make breaks to ensure the rest periods for the driver.

competitive comparison: Deutsche Bahn only needs 4h without changing trains for the same trip. Traveling around the weekend could lead to long travel times via bus due to the traffic on the Autobahn.

Die Busse waren brandneu - jeder Sitz verfügt über einen Sicherheitsgurt
brand-new buses – each seat was equiped with a seat belt

Safety

As already mentioned all buses have been new – equipped with seat belts for all seats. At the beginning we have been forced to fasten our seat belts and to keep it fastened during the whole journey.

The drivers drove cautious and I felt relatively safe. But 2 out of 4 drivers used their cellphones while driving (phone calls & SMS) – this could lead to dangerous situations especially when driving on the Autobahn.

 

Staff

All drivers have been very friendly and kind as they provided information and helped with the luggage. While approaching a traffic jam they tried to find alternative routes to avoid them and kept as informed about the traffic situation.

 

[review]

If you want to travel by using the service of Flixbus: use their Booking engine to see all connections, times and prices! As there is no english website feel free to use the english article How to book a Flixbus Ticket online on this Blog :)
 
[mashshare]

About the company
According to Wikipedia the company has been founded in 2011. In January they did a rebranding and startet organizing a huge network to connect big cities in Germany by bus. But they aren't operating those connections: “FlixBus acts as an agent between the customer and local bus companies who operate the long-haul bus lines without subsidies within the FlixBus brand.” (Source: AGB & ABB, Flixbus.de)

Have you been traveling with FlixBus?

Share your experience by posting a comment below!
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Disclosure: I paid everything on my own, the bus company has not been involved in the creation process of this review. I used this company several times and like their service, so I have no problem recommending it to you (and using my affiliate link).

Tags
  • Nice idea for a review review Steve, I already booked my Hamburg Berlin transfer with FlixBus actually, so good to see you liked them.

  • Georgi

    On 11.12.2012 I was supposed to travel to Colon with FlixBus to attend a concert of my all times Favorite band. The bus was supposed to be there at 16.10. At 17.10 it was still not on the stop. Currently I am trying to get a refund from the company amounting at least to the value of the tickets I was never able to use. For now I can`t recommend their service

    • Maria Sauss

      yep , i have had the same experience. they wont give you a refund, they are useless. Use the special state train deals instead. the same goes in Switzerland – half price tickets.

  • Hey Steve, thanks for your review. The english tutorial helped me, too.
    It’s not as cheap as Megabus in the US or the UK, but still better than the price of trains and buses here in Italy.
    I’ll try it on Munchen-Salzburg route, and maybe Nurnberg-Munchen route (even though Fernbus seems cheaper, so…).

  • It leaves from the bus station near the station Messe/ICC – you’ll also find a map on the ticket once you purchased it!

  • vanlazarus

    Flixbus was great in most ways, but forget about reliable WIFI. Most of the time it was bearly usable and only for the least data demanding tasks, while often there was no connection at all.

  • Arda Uğur Akın

    hi everyone. i was a customer flixbus. i should’ve go to brussels to amsterdam with flixbus but i couldn’t because them bus driver was psyco. he didn’t take me the bus. he was rude, and careless. he yelled at me because i touched door of the bus. and he blamed me to stealing. he wasn’t there departure time i was cold and i touched the bus door. i heard someone shouting. i did not offend because i didn’t do anything. i went towards to him and blamed me to stealing. i asked where do you find the right of yell at me he answered because i am i bus driver. that answer instigated me and i started to yell him: i am a customer should i yell at to. and he said if i am a bus driver you can’t come with us. wtf. i payed my ticket 1 week ago. i planned everything about my vacation ande he f.cked my all plans. police came they did nothing. they just detained me till bus departured the area. i told this the company they defend me driver and they just offered a coupon. i payed a reservation even i couldn’t stay, my phone bill rise up because i tried to reach them phone service, i payed one more night in brussel and i payed another bus ticket. no one did not take responsibility in this case my damages are stand still. so folks don’t use flixbus i wouldn’t recommend. it’s your choose. they are rude, arrogant, careless. have a nice travel.

    • I’m running out of bad words for this company. I wonder if they intentionally hire drivers from the bottom of the barrel of humanity. Here is our latest description of the despicable asshole who left us stranded at Frankfurt International Airport. We were already waiting outside 20 minutes before departure time, long before the bus actually arrived at the bus stop. My wife had to quickly run in the airport to the bathroom and of course that’s when the bus arrived. I had the driver scan our tickets and put my suitcase in the hold and ran back to get her suitcase 40 yards away. In that same time he closed the gate to the hold, told me to get in or off and he was not going to wait for my wife’s urge to go shopping. I told him she went to the bathroom and would be back any second. Mind you official departure time was at least three minutes out. Since he kept insisting in a loud voice in or out, I took my suitcase out of the hold, while I saw my wife coming out of the airport 60 yards away. This parasite fuckwad jumped in the bus, closed the doors and started driving off. Fifty yards further he had to get off the bus to pay the parking fee, we ran and caught up with him, begging to please let us on – it wouldn’t have taken a minute to do that. But he actually ran back to the bus entrance, pushed the door close never even looking at us, who were right behind him. Now that is beyond anything I have ever seen or experienced in customer service. I looked at my watch, which is satellite set and it was not yet 12:20.

      Please whenever you see Flixbus anywhere, run quick and far. I was looking for an adventure travel at age 65 and decided on Flixbus, what they gave us was a nightmare of human despicability. I hate to admit that I actually hope something bad will happen to this man. Unfortunately I have lost my faith in karma. Having been left stranded twice in 3 days is a very bad record in my book. I will spend considerable time in the future making this company regret the way they treated us (and others by the way). Euro 170 later we took the train from Frankfurt back to Holland. Should have used the train all the way. Lesson learned, but not done with these parasites.

  • Viktoria Starostina

    Me and my husband travelled with Flixbus in Italy. We appreciated the comfort and cleanliness inside. moreover, the driver was really friendly and professional.

  • P Norcom

    Not at all as described. I took a bus from London to Cologne for £35. Seats were very close… I’m a 5’6″ 60kg (130 lb) female and my knees could just touch the seat back in front of me so no spacious leg room as advertised. The back row doesn’t recline at all despite the advert stating all seats recline (although the riders in front of me reclined into my lap with ease). My foot rest was broken and so was another at the seat I later moved to. No wi-fi as advertised, no snacks or drinks were for sale as advertised, the bathroom was disgusting to the point of not usable without some serious acrobatic skills plus your own toilet paper. No adjustable seat ventilation so most of the trip spent in stale humid air despite the driver being asked to provide more airflow (didnt help out with the unwashed aromatic chap seated in front of me). Lost a couple hours preparing to get across the Chunnel from London to France… when we disimbarked for passport checks at the English-side Chunnel reception area, the drink and food dispensers were broken and the restaurant counters were closed or nearly so. Several passengers couldnt be found for a long while, then someone boarded and checked everyones passports again. Took a seemingly long whilejn to queue up for a drive onto the chunnel train’s bus transport car. Next time I’ll pay extra for a train.

    • Maria Sauss

      yep. me too. there are special train deals. Flixbus was not fun . the train ride is a lot more fun and not cramped

  • Martin Shearer

    Reasonable bus service, just watch you don’t get caught out with a cancelled ticket. Caveat emptor – if you buy ticket on internet and then flixpirate fail to take the money from your account they will cancel the ticket and you have to pay more than double in cash when you arrive at the bus, even though your flashy flixbus/flixpirate app still shows a valid ticket – beware – two 18euro tickets cost me 89 euros to get on the Prague bus at Nuremberg.

  • Maria Sauss

    whoever wrote this obviously doesn’t live in Germany. The flix buses are very very often late. The drivers get lost. The apps don’t work and they won’t help you. The busses don’t stop like trains so you will have to catch a train at some point anyway. And the flixbus arrives usually after your last train home has already left. The internet is crap. The bus is noisy and the seats not comfy. Cramped. Often now filled with african “refugees” . There are train deals that are way better. These deals are available for each state. for example the Baden Wurttemburg ticket 29 Euros for a whole day of travel. Plus – the train travels through countryside so you have nice views and can get off and have a look around. The busses travel on the extremely boring autobahn.

  • Maria Sauss

    I have been on a flix bus that arrived 2 hours late. and when their mobile app wouldnt work – i was using my android- they told me i had to pay the full fare, which was more than the train ticket.

  • Maria Sauss

    you cant get a cheap ticket f you purchase it from the driver. you HAVE TO DO IT ONLINE and when the app doesnt work then you are left stranded with no other choice.

  • Velli

    I cannot recommend Flixbus if any punctuality is a requirement.

    I have traveled traveled few times by myself with Flixbus. In addition, I have taken my friend by my car to the bus stop several times. On average the busses seem to be late at least 20-30 minutes and once the bus was late 1.5 hours. Many busses seem to be canceled too.

    I needed to go once to Airport and I tought that I could use Flixbus. A bad idea. 10 minutes before the estimated arrival time, I got a message from Flixbus that the bus is late 50 minutes. I needed to take a train in order to get to airport on time. I never got my money back from Flixbus.

    Although it is cheap, if you need to hurry, you might lose lots of time and money.. and miss your appointments.

    I will travel by trains in the future.

  • Manish Agrawal

    Pathetic Customer Service and arrogant Social media management

    Guys these guys don’t care abt their customers… It’s been 2 months, 50+ followup but no resolution by on my lost luggage claim because of gross negligence of driver.

    Either they respond to your grievances or send a generic reply and go to sleep. They really don’t support/help customer when it is needed most.

    Please avoid using their services.

  • Rok Cresnik

    I am SOOOOO disappointed with the flixit bus company it’s hard to explain!
    Me and my girlfriend planned a trip to Barcelona and then from there to Amsterdam.
    While going to Barca we already had trouble with our snowboard bag, because we brought it onto a double decker bus.. FYI CUSTOMERS CANNOT SEE WHAT KIND OF BUS THEY ARE BOOKING EITHER ONLINE OR IN THE APP!
    after that lil hiccup we decided to do everything via the flixit call center… so a week ago we called, to make sure we select the right buses (no double decker) and right after the booking wrote their customer service to let them know we are bringing a snowboard (FYI we ONLY have 1 suitcase and the snowboard bag, while we are allowed 2 suitcases per person), just to receive an ‘automated’ reply that we have to call their call center no sooner than 48h in advance..
    So what happens when we call today?
    Oh the **** girl on the line tells us, we cannot bring our snowboard, cause the bus is full!
    She also mentioned that if we’d book a week in advance we could bring it!
    So when I try doing it a week in advance they tell me i can’t, when I wanna do it half a day in advance they tell me I should have done it last week.. WOOT?!?!?
    Besides.. considering We are allowed 4 suitcases, but only have 1+snowboard bag, how can the bus be full??
    If we actually had 4 and came to the bus, would we have to leave our luggage behind or what?

    Never have I ever had such crappy travel company with insanely crappy booking procedures..

    Rok

  • Eric Hao

    It really sucks. There was one time I went to Paris, the bus was supposed to arrive at 17:25 but I waited for 30 mins before it came and there were no enough places on the bus. I really doubt how their booking system works. And the client contact told us that they just don’t know about what happened. The worst part is that we had to wait for an hour for the next bus and to buy another ticket. I rarely make reviews through website but this time j just can’t help myself.

  • takeawildguess

    I know this is very old, but does anyone know if they weigh or measure luggage?

    • Γιάννης Μηνάς

      they didnt measure ours (Paris->Dusseldorf)

  • Γιάννης Μηνάς

    From Paris to Dusseldorf

    1) Our bus, had plugs but these were not working. And it wasn’t just ours, as we asked other people seating near us as well.
    2) No wifi on board even though our route was not mentioned as a route with no wi-fi
    3) Toilet’s water was broken and we could not use the toilet. As a result the driver did JUST ONE extra stop before even exiting France and no other stop for using a toilet.

    It was a really bad journey, which dissapointed us very much, considering the great name and reviews we got from the internet and friends on their experience with Flixbus.

  • anandsr

    I took 4 trips with them. All 4 were late. The first started 1 he late. The second 2 hour late. Third started late 20 minutes only, but reached an hour late. The 4th they had cancelled. The message was sent on sms on my India number, which was not being used. They do not send emails. We managed to get the a bus two hours late.

    All in all pretty pathetic.

    Even worse is that their drivers are totally not helpful. They won’t talk to you even if they are just waiting for their bus time for a long time. Not sure why, as normal Germans are quite helpful.

    Their website does not have any status of bus. You cannot get any indication that the ticket is cancelled from their app.

    If you are visiting Germany first time it’s better to get DB’s try 25% discount card. It makes things cheaper. Also you can use local or regional day tickets.

    Avoid flixbus, it’s not worth the wait. It’s too expensive if you value your time.

  • Tom Stangl

    We are planning on taking the FlixBus from Nuremberg to Prague in September. Has anyone taken the trip recently? How was your experience? We are also considering taking a DB bus. How would they compare? The price is about double. Thanks. Tom.

  • Vivek Agarwal

    Not recommended. My luggage was stolen and I have not received any support from FlixBus. It has been over 10 days.

  • Jushepe

    SEXIST AGGRESSION BY FLIXBUS DRIVER!!!!
    If you are a woman traveling alone, it is not safe-space

  • Jushepe

    A friend of mine suffered a sexist aggression by the bus driver. The company didn’t do ANYTHING.

  • Jushepe

    SEXIST AGGRESSION BY FLIXBUS DRIVER WAS REPORTED TO POLICE, and if you check in internet, there are a lot of aggressions reported by costumers (sexists, racist, etc)…
    I would not recommend it. I would recommend responsible consumption

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