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Best idea for travel from the US to Zurich

My sister in law lives and works in Zurich for a U.S. company...hence place to stay. Airfare is obviously high, but I am wondering if traveling to another city and taking a train, etc. would be more economical? I can get a non stop (Delta) from Atlanta (from where we live) to Zurich but I was told that what I was seeing in fares were high. I was also told to go to Tampa and leave from there to fly on Air Swiss, but I'm finding that I can't get the information I need from that site. Any information you share is appreciated. Thank you.

Posted by
8650 posts

appleor
when are you going and what are the fares you are seeing? Is the cost of airfare your main consideration, or is time and convenience a factor?

Posted by
20461 posts

Swiss flies from Miami, Chicago, New York, Boston, Montreal, LAX, SFO. Tampa and DC through codeshare. If you fly to Frankfurt, there are single-connection trains from FRA via Stuttgart or Basel. You can also fly to Paris and get a direct train from Gare de Lyon, but it is a train on the RER with one connection to get from CDG to GdL station.

Posted by
7209 posts

The main airports in Switzerland are Zurich (zrh), Geneva (GVA) and Bern (BRN). It's quite easy to use a search site like kayak.com and put in your departure city (ATL), supply a flexible date range, and then put in your destination (ZRH). You'll see all of the available fares.

Don't know why anyone would tell you Swiss Airlines is cheaper. Every airline has their prices which fluctuate up and down based on a myriad of factors. Choose the airline, flight numbers that are affordable to you and meet your schedule. That's all there is to it.

Posted by
7569 posts

The other Tim gave good advice. It sounds ? like this might be your first trip to Europe. Room aside, can you afford Switzerland?

United often has good fares EWR to Zurich. But I would suggest you consider ideas like 2 segments on another National airline, like Lufthansa. The second flight can be almost free. Check on code-shares over the Atlantic. I'm sure our host (I mean Rick Steves) has some general air advice on his website, as he does for trains. This is a complex topic.

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you for the information....It has been many many years since I've been to Europe.... We are flexible to go in May....however, we want to go for 10 days and of course see some of the sights in other cities. Priced the flight the other night and got for 2 people (leaving on a Tuesday and coming back on a Thursday)...$2700 round trip, including taxes, fees and economy comfort. That would be a non stop flight as well. To the person who asked if we could afford Switzerland..we wouldn't be going if we couldn't, however, we are trying to be cost conservative where possible so we can truly enjoy the experience.

I do have Steve's book Europe thru the back door...and will be purchasing a couple of others. We do want to go to Austria...as we have friends in Feld em See and would like to see that village.

Again, thank you for your replies.

Posted by
32268 posts

apple,

You'll probably find the best flight options to Zürich as it's the largest city and the airport gets a lot of traffic! Also, as that's your destination, it doesn't make sense to route via a different airport and then have to take a connecting flight or a train (unless there's a significant savings of course).

For sightseeing ideas in Switzerland, I'd suggest packing along a copy of the RS Switzerland guidebook. This is also available as an E-book in several formats. That will have all the information you'll need to plan efficient touring.

You may find it helpful to buy one of the Swiss Passes to minimize the cost of transportation, such as the Half-Fare Card. Which one to buy will depend to some extent on where you plan on touring, and which mountain lifts you want to take. You'll have to do the number crunching to see which one would be most cost effective.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks Ken.....my sister in law lives in Zurich and travels around to 23 countries over there...and knows Zurich quite well...but of course there is so much to see and so little time....so I will see what is available on line as well...I like RS' idea of B&B's for nights to stay in various countries...and I agree a 3* hotel would be just fine as long as it is clean. Rome is also a destination to see...our friends have toured Italy extensively...via Rick Steve's suggestions and they rave about how he is right on everything!

Posted by
7209 posts

Zurich is nice, but there are FAR nicer destinations in Switzerland. Don't get stuck in Zurich just because you have a free room...especially since you say you can "afford" it.

Posted by
4600 posts

For that long a flight for that much money, you should look into getting an airline-branded card to get the juicy signup/initial usage bonus. No sense letting a trip like that go to waste. From ATL, I suppose that means looking into Amex offers on Delta. You also get things like free checked bags, priority boarding and often free daypasses for the airport lounge.

We were able to use United miles to fly business to Zurich through Heathrow, coming back from CDG. It made all the difference in the world. But as noted above, we ran through as many routing options as we could stomach, including most major European cities. That's the joy of travel in 2016.

Take a gander at thepointsguy.com for some ideas on how to get credit for travel.

And I'm sure you will be going places in CH other than Zurich, because there is so much more to see (that Rick guy has itineraries and everything).

Posted by
2484 posts

Another source for info on airline miles with credit cards - frugaltravelguy.com

Posted by
4 posts

We have an airline Amex....and I will also look at the frugal guy site as well.

Posted by
4600 posts

But here's the catch - you won't get any bonus if you just use the card. If you apply for a new card and meet the minimum spend, however, you will be granted 30,000 miles. Sometimes 50K, depending on the offer in effect.

Posted by
2147 posts

Hi Appleor, I think $2700 for 2 people is a good price. I just made reservations on Delta (Cleve-Atlanta-Zurich) for $2888 for 2 people. Have you been tracking airfares? If your dates are flexible, you might be able to shave off a bit more. Personally, I wouldn't bother driving to Tampa to catch a flight. Happy hunting!