Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Help - early departures from Geneva & Zurich

Help - early departures from Geneva & Zurich

Old Sep 12th, 2008, 04:54 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,479
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Help - early departures from Geneva & Zurich

Hi, I've done lots of reading but I need help please!

On Sat Jan 2nd:

My daughter & I have a BA flight from Geneva to Orlando via Gatwick leaving at 7.10am

My husband is flying AA from Zurich via NYC leaving at 10.05am.

We are planning on staying at Suite-Hotel which is (according to the website) a 15 minute walk to the Airport.

For my daughter and me, what time do we need to book in? What time does the airport open?

For my husband, there is a train that leave Geneva at 4.56am and arriving at Zurich Airport at 8.16. DD & I are flying business class so have plenty of luggage allowance so DH will only have carryon.

The problem is - how does he get to Geneva train station as the airport train doesn't start operating until after 6.00am? How much is a taxi? How long will the taxi take? The train would only have taken 7 minutes.

Bus 10 does not start operating until 5.30am.

Sarvowinner is offline  
Old Sep 12th, 2008, 08:21 PM
  #2  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,479
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Anyone??
Sarvowinner is offline  
Old Sep 13th, 2008, 07:48 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 94,501
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm confused.

You are all in Geneva together? Then your husband is going to the Zurich airport? And you and your daughter are going to the Geneva airport?
suze is offline  
Old Sep 13th, 2008, 11:30 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 409
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Suze, that's what it sounds like. Sarvowinner, I would recommend that your husband spends the night in Zurich before.

Since you are traveling, the day after the holiday, there might be delays on the train. Swiss trains are normally on time, but it's not smart to arrive at the airport less than 2 hours prior to the international flight. Doesn't the AA check in require that you check in 1.5 hours prior to an international flight?

15 minute walk to the airport from your hotel? YOU ARE GOING TO FREEZE! It's COLD here in January.
freeman0819 is offline  
Old Sep 13th, 2008, 11:40 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 9,907
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you can check-in on-line, do it. It will get you better seats than waiting til you get to the airport.
kleeblatt is offline  
Old Sep 13th, 2008, 07:32 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 94,501
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If your husband has a 10am departure out of Zurich, he should take the train from Geneva to Zurich the day before.
suze is offline  
Old Sep 13th, 2008, 07:36 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 94,501
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Maybe you already know this? But it's nearly a 3 hour train ride Geneva to Zurich.
suze is offline  
Old Sep 13th, 2008, 10:24 PM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,479
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi

Yes - we are flying from two different airports - DD & I have FF business class tickers. DH is on a OW RTW fare and could not get on the BA GTW-MCO flight. He could only get on the AA flight from Zurich flying via JFK.

We were relying on the Swiss trains working like clockwork - and in that case he should be at Zurich airport in time to make the 1.5 hour cut off as he arrives 1 hour and 50 minutes before departure - plus he has no luggage.
Unfortunately, it appears that AA doesn't have OLCI?

However, if people don't think this is doable we will have re-evaluate our options.

I guess taxis will be the only option if he does leave Geneva early in the morning?

DD & I will definitely check in on-line - I'm familiar with BA's seating policy. I'm still not clear on what time we need to check in for a BA European flight? If the airport train doesn't start running until after 6.00am, does BA expect people to check in at 5.10am? When I try to google for the information, all I get is info on OLCI?








Sarvowinner is offline  
Old Sep 13th, 2008, 11:09 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 9,907
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sarvo,

Good questions to ask now. The train schedule will change a bit in Jan. 09 but not much. Make sure to check the train schedule again before going to Switzerland.

Taking the early train from Geneva to Zürich airport should be OK. Our trains do run like clockwork but every once in a while, things do happen.

You need to talk to your hotel. A 15 minute walk is doable if the weather permits. Otherwise take a taxi or get an airport shuttle from the hotel if they have one.




kleeblatt is offline  
Old Sep 14th, 2008, 08:40 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 94,501
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I've flown British Air out of Geneva a number of times (with London Heathrow being my connection for back to the states). I arrived a couple hours before the flight time.

How early does BA say you should check in? There should be guidelines on their website or your ticket confirmation. At that hour in winter I would simply take a taxi from your hotel to the airport.

suze is offline  
Old Sep 14th, 2008, 09:55 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,542
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Sarvowinner,

For your daughter and you:
- You need to check the check-in cutoff time that applies to you at the BA website under "manage my booking". It should be about 45 min. before departure.

- I would certainly not walk to the airport in the dark/cold with luggage! Take bus 10 or a cab for probably about CHF 20.

For your husband:
- A cab to Geneva main station (Cornavin) should cost about CHF 40 and take 15 minutes max at such an early hour. It's the only option at that hour and should definitely be ordered the night before.

- You do realize that your husband has an absolutely insane day of travelling lined up especially if he still needs to connect to Orlando when he arrives in NYC? I would definitely head to ZRH the night before vs. the morning of departure to the US.

Hope this helps,
Andre
Andre is offline  
Old Sep 14th, 2008, 11:36 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,960
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you want a hotel near the Zurich airport for a decent price, we stayed at the Park Inn. It was reasonable, very clean, had a restaurant and a free shuttle to the airport. He will need to make a reservation for the shuttle as they do get full.
Connie is offline  
Old Sep 15th, 2008, 06:41 PM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,479
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi

Thanks for all your help and advice. We've done a SWOT analysis taking into all of your information.

The AA flight's Zurich departure time has been put back to 10.30am and he must be checked in 90 minutes before that - ie. 9.00am so unless something drastic happens to the train, he will have 45 minutes to clear security and check in (without luggage)- he is a high status OW card holder so can use the Business Class check in.

As DD & I will have done our OLCI for our BA flights, we have decided to spend the night near the station in central Geneva. That way DH can get straight on the train to Zurich and we can head out to Geneva Airport on one of the first trains - around 5.30am.

We will keep a close eye on the train service and the potential for bad weather, and if the risk seems too high, DH can head to Zurich the night before.

<<You do realize that your husband has an absolutely insane day of travelling lined up especially if he still needs to connect to Orlando when he arrives in NYC? I would definitely head to ZRH the night before vs. the morning of departure to the US.>>

Andrew, I read him your email, and he said he has stacks of time to sleep over the day (this is a man who fell asleep at a Stray Cats concert) and is looking forward to an early morning train trip. I did tell him, it will be pitch black but he's hoping to see the mountains silhouetted against the sky. We'll see
Sarvowinner is offline  
Old Sep 16th, 2008, 07:42 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,542
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Sarvowinner,

The move to a hotel in town is certainly a good idea - glad to hear that you husband is such a good sleeper!

He might want to set an alarm so that he definitely wakes up just before the train is scheduled to reach Zurich airport - I've actually once witnessed 2 people sleeping through that stop and then waking up miles away - it's not funny...

BTW, the cutoff time for AA flights is 60 minutes, not 90. As per their contract of carriage (http://www.aa.com/aa/i18nForward.do?...Carriage.jsp):
"For flights originating outside the U.S., you must check in 60 minutes before departure, and be present at the departure gate and ready to board at least 30 minutes prior to scheduled departure time to retain your reservation and a seat."

Hope this helps,
Andre
Andre is offline  
Old Sep 16th, 2008, 08:41 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,585
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We used Priceline to get a hotel in Zurich by the airport. I just saw this thread and wanted to relate our story to you. It took us 2 hours to get through security and to get to our gate in Zurich. They had two check lines and even made you go face to face with a person who asked us about the reasons for our trip, etc. This was in June and the airport was not even that crowded, they just moved very slowly and were very thorough.
LLindaC is offline  
Old Sep 16th, 2008, 08:52 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,542
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi LLindaC,

While I have no doubt that you had such an experience in Zurich, I live there and travel to the US at least once a year (most recently in April) and this has never happened to me. There must have been some sort of specific alert in effect on the day you were travelling.

Hope this helps,
Andre
Andre is offline  
Old Sep 16th, 2008, 08:59 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,585
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
well, I do know that they had won a game in the World Cup the night before and half the residents of Zurich were parading around in cow costumes all night! LOL!


We're returning to Switzerland next year and have been debating about which airports to use based on that experience. It's good to know that it's not like that all the time. The Swiss are not known to be inefficient!!!
LLindaC is offline  
Old Sep 16th, 2008, 09:25 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 2,456
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Suite Hotel (an Accor group hotel, budget category) Geneva to airport, ok, maybe 15 minutes or maybe 20 minutes (I know where it's located) and that's without luggage. With luggage perhaps 20 to 30 minutes in winder cold? I wouldn't do that. People don't walk that. For airport opening hour, for Easyjet 6h00 flight, the airport opens at 4h00 or 4h30.
kappa is offline  
Old Sep 16th, 2008, 09:27 PM
  #19  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,479
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks Andre - I will definitely get him to set his alarm. And also thanks for the info on the cutoff for check in. I searched the AA site and the Zurich Airport site to no avail. The AA CS rep was adamant it was 90 minutes. I'll print out the "fine print" and add it to his documents.

Kappa - I agree with you. That's one of the reasons we decided to stay in town. A bit silly to be in the middle whereas we can walk to the train station in Geneva and catch the first airport train at 5.27 am and DH can catch his train to Zurich at stupid o'clock.

The best price I can see for three people close to the station is the Novotel. Apparently, it is in the Red Light district, but it isn't overly yucky?

LLindaC - that must have been a pain. However, based on other reports on Zurich airport, we will take our chances.
Sarvowinner is offline  
Old Sep 17th, 2008, 12:25 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 9,907
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
June 08: European championship in Switzerland.

They were taking extra security precautions which may have caused delays in reaching the gate.
kleeblatt is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information