We're flying from Rome(FCO)to Zurich and I'm wondering how early we need to check in at the airport? The flight is at 7:55 pm on a Friday night in early June and we'll be traveling with American passports and luggage that will need to be checked. The flight is on SWISS if that makes any sort of difference.
Inter Europe you only need 2 hours.
The hassle through security is no worse than at a major U.S. airport.
Switzerland. Is part of the Schengen area. Check in closes 45 min prior to flight departure. You must have consigned your luggage and have a boarding pass in your hand by that time. If you are at the check in line 75 min ahead of flight time you'll have 30 min to do the check in. That's more than adequate. The Swiss are timely.
Travel time to the airport is 35 min by train or taxi. However at that time in the evening it's rush hour, therefore the taxi may encounter traffic.
Roberto, your post made me think of something. We'll be out in Ostia Antica in the afternoon - we'll have already dropped our luggage off at FCO and stored it there earlier in the day. Do you know offhand if getting a taxi from Ostia to FCO will be an issue on Friday afternoon? Also, could we conceivably just check in very early for our flight, e.g. noon when we first get to the airport and then head over to Ostia? I've done it before in the US for a late international flight but don't know if that's possible overseas. At that point we could just walk through security much later time.
From Ostia Antica at the Archeological site to the airport is a 10 min. drive by taxi. No significant traffic. The site opens in June at 8:30am and closes at 7:00pm (last entry at 6pm). I'm pretty sure there will be taxis in front, also the Ostia Antica train station is at the entrance.
In any case take the taxi tel. numbers with you. You can always call and they'll dispatch one within 10 min. I think you can check in up to 4 hrs prior to a flight. But I'm not sure about 8 hours early. You should contact the airline.
SwissAir MIGHT be fine, but read RonInRome's piece about how three hours almost was not enough for an inter-Europe flight: http://www.roninrome.com/transportation/another-chaotic-morning-at-fiumicinos-leonardo-da-vinci-airport-fco