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Need help on best way from Frankfort to Luzern

Need help on best way from Frankfort to Luzern

Old Aug 23rd, 2006, 07:32 PM
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Need help on best way from Frankfort to Luzern

need to make plane reservations soon because of FF ticket. We live near San Francisco and want to end up in Luzern. It is important because of DH's health that the trip be as smooth as possible, as few stops as possible. If we fly from San Francisco to Frankfort non-stop, what is best way to get from Frankfort to Luzern? Is it best to fly to Zurich, then train to Luzern? Is there a train from Frankfort to Luzern that would be faster? That way we would only have to make one change, but I don't know about the time involved. Any help is appreciated. Enzian, any ideas?

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Old Aug 23rd, 2006, 07:37 PM
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I believe you've already received several good replies to this question. Just click on your name (in blue) and it will take you to all of your previous posts.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2006, 07:41 PM
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If you can fly direct to Zurich, that's the way to go. There's a train in the airport and you can take the train direct to Lucern. You can send your baggage direct to Lucern-it's a service.

If you fly through Franfurt, you'll have to book another flight to Zurich, ie, you're wasting time and money.

Timewise, Zurich to Lucern about an hour or maybe ninety minutes with the train.

If you fly to Franfurt, you could rent a car and drive to Lucern. The drive is more than five hours and you'll have big drop-off fees to pay.

Lucern has two airports but both are military. Whatever you do in Lucern, you'll have to leave via one of another airport.

Blackduff
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Old Aug 24th, 2006, 11:04 AM
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blackduff, Do I understand correctly that there are no commercial flights in and out of Luzern? You said we would have to leave via one of another airport. Were you referring to the two military airports in Luzern or were you referring to airports outside Luzern?
Driving is not an option for us. There is a flight SFO to Los Angeles to Zurich but I am afraid it will be terribly expensive. And am not sure whether it is best to change planes in Frankfort or Los Angeles to get to Zurich. Any help is very much appreciated. Sebina
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Old Aug 24th, 2006, 11:57 AM
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>blackduff, Do I understand correctly that there are no commercial flights in and out of Luzern? You said we would have to leave via one of another airport. Were you referring to the two military airports in Luzern or were you referring to airports outside Luzern?

I'm not Blackduff, but to fly directly to Lucerne you have to be Swiss Airforce pilot. Yes, such a thing exists

There is no sense to fly to Zürich and then going by train to Lucerne. You will have no problem going there by train - it is one or two easy changes, about 4 hours.
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Old Aug 24th, 2006, 12:03 PM
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There is no commercial aiport in Luzern, and as I descibed in your other thread, it's just an hour by train from Zurich airport.

I think a SFO-xxx-ZRH flight, connected to the 1-hour train will be the "best" for you. Your alternative will be flying SFO-FRA, and then two to three trains that takes 4.5 hours.

For SFO-ZRH, there are multiple airlines you can choose from, with connection in US or in Europe.

With the current security issues in UK airports, you may want to skip those; but you can still do it in Newark, JFK, Atlanta, Dallas, or Washington-Dulles in the US; and Frankfurt, Munich, Paris and Amsterdam in Europe. Lots of flights and carriers to choose from.

Bad thing about a US connection is that on your return, you'll need to clear US immigration/customs at point of entry, and then reclear security before going to SFO. In Europe, connecting at Paris CDG is also messy.

Therefore, I think the best is probably fly KLM SFO-AMS-ZRH, or Lufthansa SFO-FRA-ZRH or SFO-MUC-ZRH. Munich's airport is new and transit should be pretty efficient.
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Old Aug 24th, 2006, 12:17 PM
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Hm, looking at the actual connection times more carefully, I think it's a tossup between training or flying between Frankfurt and Zurich - if the OP decides to do the Frankfurt route instead of AMS, MUC or other US connections.

LH's SFO-FRA arrives 9:35a. I think it's reasonable to expect to get on the 10:54a ICE south. But this itinerary requires two changes - to another ICE in Mannheim, then to a InterRegio in Olten - arriving Luzern at 15:13p. The 11:54a departure requires only one change (Basel), but arrives Luzern an hour later.

If they fly to Zurich, then it arrives at 1:05p. There's a 1:47 direct train to Luzern, arriving 2:49. If they miss this one, either wait for the next one in an hour, or go to Zurich and change, arriving Luzern 15:25.

So, basically final arrival time at Luzern is similar whether one flies or trains out from Frankfurt.
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Old Aug 24th, 2006, 12:49 PM
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Here's a couple of points:
First, flying direct to Zurich allows you to have the carrier put your bags directly into the train heading to Lucern. You recover your bags when you arrive in Lucern. This is a big advantage. Your bags are checked with the douanes in Lucern.

In the Lucern area, you have two airports. In Stans, it is a military airport with F 18's and other military types for traffic.

In Emmen you have another military airport which is shared with Ruag, a Swiss federal aircraft manufacturer. It's a big enough runway to land the C5 Galaxy but it's tricky passing through the mountain approach.

Again, pass through Zurich. Your travel with the train is almost transparent, and you'll arrive in Lucern right into the center of the town.

Blackduff
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Old Aug 24th, 2006, 12:58 PM
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Hi Sebina,

So the question is what would be easiest on your husband? If you fly to Frankfurt, there is a train station right in the airport. Trains to Luzern depart every hour at 54 minutes past the hour, and take a little over 4 hours to get there. But all have either one or two changes to get to Luzern. That means you have to get off the train, carry your baggage, find the other train, and lift your baggage on.

If that would be difficult for your husband, then flying to Zürich would probably be better. I don't know what kind of FF miles you are using, but many plans will take you one flight past your gateway city to your final destination. In your case, that would be the Zürich airport. Again, there is a train station right in the airport, and trains depart directly to Luzern (no changes at all) every hour at 47 minutes after the hour.

Even if you have to pay for the tickets to fly from Frankfurt to Zürich, it might be worth it. I believe the train tickets, for comparison, cost around 40 to 50 euros apiece. (I didn't check exactly; it depends on your ages, time of day, etc.) Also, from Zürich, the Swiss railway has a service to transport your bags to Luzern, if you wish; there is a fee and they would not arrive until after you. But maybe it would be worth it.
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Old Aug 24th, 2006, 01:13 PM
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First, I apologize that I was using both the 12- and 24-hour clock in my last post. That was confusing.

Second, www.bahn.de shows ticket prices from Frankfurt Flughafen to Luzern to be about 80 euro full fare. Not sure if you can get discount fare in advance.
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Old Aug 24th, 2006, 02:44 PM
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rkkwan--you're right about the 80 euro from Frankfurt to Luzern (81.20, I think). I was looking at several differnt routes and got confused. So she can compare that to the cost of flying and decide.
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Old Aug 24th, 2006, 05:58 PM
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If your husband's health is at stake, remember that it is easier to change transportation modes and connections early in the day when you're still fresh - by the time you have flown to Europe you're exhausted and don't want to have to spend hours on trains or planes or - worse - both.

You didn't tell us what airline you have your miles with, or what your dates are, so modify this to suit:

Plan A (by far the best of all): Fly to Zürich (ZRH), then take the short train ride to Luzern - every hour at 13 min before the hour (09:47, 10:47 etc.) there is a direct train to Luzern, takes 1:02 hr from the convenient station below the airport building, no need to change anywhere, very nice trains, piece of cake. Cost: 26 Swiss Francs per person (about 21 US Dollars).

In between those trains there are other trains where you first ride into Zürich itself and change trains at the central station.

Plan B (not great but allright): Fly into Geneva (GVA) and take the direct train from the convenient airport train station to Luzern, the direct one leaves every hour at 1 minute past the hour (09:01, 10:01 etc) and takes about 3 hours, no need to change anywhere; or take one of the many other trains that require a change en route. Cost: 74 Swiss Francs per person (about 60 US Dollars).

Plan C (the worst by far): Fly into Frankfurt (FRA) and take the train to Luzern. Fast trains leave every hour at 6 minutes before the hour (08:54, 09:54 etc) and require one (the 07:54 and 09:54) or two (the 08:54 and 10:54) changes of trains en route. Takes 4:19 hours.

Now about your worry re. airfares: It costs roughly the same to fly to Zürich and to Geneva - roughly. A bit more to Geneva, and the train from there to Luzern costs more. So Zürich wins.

Flying to Frankfurt is usually somewhat cheaper, maybe by a hundred bucks or so, but you immediately lose that advantage because the train costs so much more, and it takes so much longer and is so much more stressful having to get off the train once or twice and make a connection.

So there's no question about what you should do after what you told us: Fly to Zürich and take the train. Your husband will thank you.

Forget all that nonsense about airports in Luzern - Luzern is 44 miles from the Zürich airport, of course there is no Luzern airport.

Forget flying from Frankfurt to Zürich and then taking a train - too much trouble and torture with waiting and checking in and security and then still having to take a train.

Look for flights at www.kayak.com, it is reliable and doesn't try to sell you something.

Good luck.
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Old Aug 26th, 2006, 05:16 AM
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Listen to WallyK's most sound advice on this matter.
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Old Aug 27th, 2006, 05:26 PM
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Thanks everyone for all your help and ideas. It looks like the way to go for us is to Zurich, either through Frankfort or Los Angeles-Zurich. We are going on United.

Now I have the information to comfortably book to Zurich airport. Thanks. Sebina
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