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Case

Making rail travel more relaxed: Komfort Check-in

umlaut helps Deutsche Bahn make rail travel more convenient thanks to the digital Komfort Check-in service.

Ticket checks go digital

For those who ride the rails, the cry of “Tickets, please!” is likely to be a familiar sound. Flyers, however, rarely – if ever – have to present their tickets again once airborne, allowing them to sit back, relax and enjoy their flight, regardless of whether they prefer to spend their time reading, working or just sleeping.

Since the summer of 2018, the German rail transport company Deutsche Bahn has also been making travel similarly comfortable for its passengers. On all Intercity-Express (ICE) and selected Intercity (IC) routes, travellers can now use the (Self Check-in) feature to validate tickets themselves. The service allows users to relax once they embark and frees up on-board staff for other tasks, such as making announcements and helping other passengers.

DB Komfort Check-in Woman with mobile

© pictures: DB Fernverkehr AG


A winning approach to a new product

umlaut supported Deutsche Bahn in bringing its ticket validation system into the digital era. Its mission? To roll out the Komfort Check-in service across the entire ICE fleet. After all, both the product itself and its launch needed to be well planned and coordinated to ensure that passengers view the new feature as a benefit and take advantage of it to validate their tickets themselves.

Soft roll-out, the smart way

Having already proven its expertise during the launch of on-board Wi-Fi for the ICE fleet, the team from umlaut developed a specific, five-stage roll-out strategy for Deutsche Bahn. Between May and June 2018, Komfort Check-in was gradually introduced on selected ICE routes. During that time, an eleven-member task force monitored the roll-out live, allowing the team to immediately eliminate minor errors and disruptions while incorporating the train crews’ feedback. The result? A successful soft product launch. Today Komfort Check-in is available on all ICE connections, with over 10 million check-ins already completed as of late 2019.

"A strong team needs a strong partner. Thanks to the professional partnership with umlaut, we were able to successfully roll out Komfort Check-in throughout our ICE fleet and on selected IC trains."

-Julia Niestrath, Komfort Check-in project lead at Deutsche Bahn

Expanding Komfort Check-in to the IC fleet

With the successful roll-out of Komfort Check-in for its ICE fleet behind it, Deutsche Bahn set its sights on the next goal: expanding its digital ticket validation system to include the IC fleet. Additional challenge: the mobile phone coverage along the railway lines in Germany is not always sufficient for an enjoyable surfing experience. Here too, umlaut leveraged its expertise by measuring and analysing mobile data connections during a variety of test runs in the IC network. Based on the findings, umlaut developed a concept outlining the routes on which Deutsche Bahn should start offering Komfort Check-in until its IC trains have also been equipped with Wi-Fi – or until the Bundesnetzagentur (Germany’s regulatory body for the electricity, gas, telecommunications, post and railway markets) has improved mobile data coverage within the country’s borders. Right now, Deutsche Bahn is successively rolling out the service on selected IC routes to make rail travel as convenient as possible for passengers.