Zurich Airport Connection ?

Mar 22nd, 2005, 03:57 AM
  #1  
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Zurich Airport Connection ?

Hi All,

We're going to be connecting through the Zurich airport this weekend. We arrive on American Airlines from the US and depart on Swiss Air to Athens. Because of the time change in Europe this weekend, the connection time is 1 hour, down from the normal 2 hours this pair of flights usually have.

Does anyone have experiences at Zurich airport to know if this is going to be realistic? And, if we miss the connection, we will have a 10-hour layover. Any input on what to do for 10 hours if we get caught? Is there an easy way to get into the city for some sightseeing?

Thanks in advance.
MichaelT is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2005, 04:11 AM
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First, are you sure your later arrival time has not already been accounted for in the timetable?

If not, then assuming your luggage is checked through to Athens, which it should be, and assuming your flight arrives on time, you should have no trouble making this connection. You will not have to go through immigration as you are in transit. You may have to change terminals, but this should take 10-20 minutes or less. If you arrive into Terminal A or B and have to depart via Terminal E and your departure time is before about 10 am, you may run into a line in security at Terminal E. If you do, and time is running out, they will usually call for passengers and allow you to move up in the line.

If you can give me your flight numbers, I can check which terminal you arrive and depart into, alternatively, you may be able to check yourself at the airport’s website at http://www.zurich-airport.com

Cicerone is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2005, 04:21 AM
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Cicerone,

Thanks for the info. The later time is taken into accout. The flight normally arrives at 07:50 and the departure is at 09:50 but based on the time change, the arrival on Sunday is 08:50 and thus the 1-hour connection. I spoke with Swiss Air and they told me they require 40 minutes for the connection.

I looked at the site you suggested. For today, the arrival (AA 38) arrives in Hall 1 and the departure (Swiss 1830) departs from gate E35. Of course in doing some digging, the arriving flight has been 15-20 minutes late each of the last 3 days!

Thanks again for your help.
MichaelT is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2005, 04:35 AM
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Hall 1 is Terminal A, and your Swiss flight is departing from Terminal E. You will need to take the underground train from Terminal A to Terminal E, follow the signs, it does not take very long, although you may have a longish walk to get to the train from your arrival gate in Terminal A. Overall, I think you should have no problem. If the flight is running late, speak to the ground agent that meets the plane when you land, perhaps they can take you to the train by golf cart or otherwise expedite the process.

Make sure you are issued with a boarding pass for the Swiss flight when you check in for your AA flight in the US. IF they can’t give you this, you may be cutting it quite close. AA and Swiss are code shares, so they should have no problem issuing you the Swiss boarding pass.

As you are arriving on a Sunday, you probably will not run into too much of a line at security for Terminal E, as that is more of a weekday problem.

(The airport uses different nomenclature for check-in areas and then the terminals, very confusing and non-Swiss. The saga of the Terminal E is a whole ‘nother story.)
Cicerone is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2005, 04:40 AM
  #5  
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Cicerone,

Thank you so much for the great information!

Last question in case we do get hung up. With this Sunday being Easter in the US and Switzerland (but not in Greece), what might I expect to be open/closed in Zurich because of the holiday?
MichaelT is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2005, 06:08 AM
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I have to say that I go away every Easter and have not spent one here. (Lugano this weekend for me, I need sunny weather. . .) Shops are always closed on Sundays anyway, so that is no different. (Some shops in the railroad stations are open, but I would not spend any time there.) As it is March, the ferries are running on an abbreviated schedule which I think also applies on Easter. You may find some restaurants closed, esp the smaller ones, it will be hit or miss. Some of the better restaurants on closed on Sundays anyway. There is normally a very good brunch at the Marriott which I assume they would also run on Easter, you might start with that. It beings at 11 am, maybe earlier for Easter. The Marriott is about a 5 minute walk from the main train station.

If you end up spending the day, then when you take the train from the airport into the city, there is a tourist info office in the main train station (Hautbanhof). They can give you a good street map and some suggestions. The Hautbanhof is a good place to start your own walking tour of the old town on both sides of the rivers.

I would let the weather decide how you spend the day. If it is not a nice day head to one or more of the museums. (Many have restaurants in them as well.) If it is a nice day, I would walk around the old town, climb the tower in the Grossmunster for a good view, see the windows in the Fraumunster, go to the lake and if the ferries are running take a ride down the lake to maybe Thalwil and back. You could also take the little train up to the hill at Utliberg where you will have great views. Click on “Destinations” above and scroll down to Zurich and print out some ideas and info, also take a look at Frommers.com.

Most museums should be open. Some to consider:

Landesmuseum/National Museum of Swiss History. Take a look at http://www.musee-suisse.ch.
This is behind the main train station and would be a good start. You might skip the early part of the collection which is about pre-historic Switzerland, and to go Roman and medieval parts of the collection.

E. G. Bührle Collection - great collection of 18th and 19th century art, including many impressionist paintings. Take a look at http://www.buehrle.ch. This is only open from 2-5 on Sunday. This is a bit out of the main town area.

Reitberg - great collection of Asian and other non-European art. Take a look at reitberg.ch

Zunfthaus Zur Meisen - porcelain museum. In a lovely baroque building next door to the Fraumunster church. Their huge ceramic stoves are worth a short visit. http://www.musee-suisse.com/

I would normally recco the Kunsthaus, but virtually the entire museum is shut down until 2006 as they are doing major renovations. The Monet exhibit may still be running, if so, that is definitely worth a trip. Take a look at http://www.kunsthaus.ch. The museum is just up the hill from the Grossmunster church on the right bank of the river, which is great for strolling and looking at architecture.

For a list of all the museums in Zurich, go to http://www.zuerich.com, and click on “Museums & Art” from the left hand menu.



Cicerone is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2005, 01:08 AM
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Michael T, hopefully you will read this before your trip. There is a chance that your AA flight will land at Terminal E, which means you won’t have to change terminals. Not to confuse you too much, but the arrival halls shown on the airport website really indicate which baggage area your bags will be in, and which arrival hall you will exit into (so people can meet you in the correct hall). As there are only 2 arrival halls but there are 3 terminals, some flights landing at Terminal E will exit immigration/customs/baggage into arrival hall 1.

So, when you land, ask the gate agent WHETHER YOU ARE ALREADY IN TERMINAL E. You may be able to see this for yourself when taxing to the gate if you look out the window, as there are huge numbers on the outside of each gate, and if you see a letter E before the gate number, you will know you are at Terminal E. Also, Terminal E is very new, has double height ceilings and windows, red walls and black floors in most areas. Terminals A and B are older, have lower ceilings and are mostly beige in color.
Cicerone is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2005, 04:42 AM
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Cicerone,

Thank you again for the very helpful information! I've printed your suggestions for Zurich in case we do spend the day there.

I just looked at the flight and yesterday it arrived at Terminal A (A49) and today it is scheduled to arrive at Terminal B (B31). I'll follow your advice when we land and see what type of run we'll be making.

Your input is much appreciated!
MichaelT is offline  
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