All we want is a Ticket!

When we landed in Cologne we went straight to the train station in the airport. Easy (we thought).


My boyfriend Toni and I consider ourselves well-travelled. I would even go so far as to say that we are travellers. We have been all over the world, sometimes together and sometimes independently or with friends. We always do our research when we go somewhere: even before we landed at Cologne Airport we knew that the trains to the centre were frequent, we knew that the station was in the airport and we had looked up the name of the station we were going to.

So why then was it so hard to buy a ticket?

First of all there was no ticket counter, only automated machines. But that didn’t daunt us; we are comfortable buying a train ticket from a machine. We didn’t have a problem with the language – the machine was in English! So what then?

Well I don’t know really; we pressed the Union Jack (or we can’t call it Jack anymore due to political correctness, am I right? I am so glad I don’t live in the UK and have to put up with all that PC rubbish anymore). We selected the destination, we selected the amount of people and then it asked us what time we wanted to leave. Well we wanted to leave immediately, so we chose immediately. So far so good.

Then it wanted to know if we wanted single or return. Fair enough. We knew we were coming back to the airport in a few days so we went for return.

Then it asked us if we had any kind of pass or frequent user card. We didn’t so we went for “none”.

Then it wanted to know if we wanted the central station specifically or if we wanted a ticket that would take us to any station in Cologne…

Did we require first or second class? Would we be connecting to another train when we arrived?

Around us people were coming and going to and from the machines. They were pressing a few buttons, inserting their money and walking away with their ticket. I didn’t see anyone inputting their shoe size and mother’s maiden name, yet here we still were filling out a questionnaire that was longer and more tedious than Ryanair’s online check in procedure.

When we were finally about to pay and go, the machine told us that we could not buy a return ticket as we had not selected the exact time that we would return. And it sent us back to the beginning.

We started again: destination, number of passengers, single or return… We chose single this time. Then the machine told us that we could not buy a ticket for two passengers if it was not a return ticket. It sent us back to the beginning.

This went on and on. People came and went. Days went by! Finally in frustration I kicked the machine and the ticket came out.

We went down to the platform and boarded the train. Not once was our ticket checked! Not when we boarded, not by an inspector on the train and not when we got off and left the station! There were no walk-through machines and no barcodes nor scanners. We could have saved ourselves the hassle and money!

The only other time we have had such an experience buying a simple train ticket was our very first day in Tokyo, at Shinjuku station.

However, the rest of my experience in Cologne was brilliant. Read about it here.

Filed Under: colognefeaturedgermanyWhere I Am Right Now

About the Author: Based in Mallorca, obsessed with the world and have a lot to say about both... Step into my shoes and join me on a journey...

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