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Luzern - Zürich train ride early AM possible?

I just got a call from my airline and was told my 10:00 am flight from Zürich to JFK on early April was cancelled; I can take another connecting flight from Zürich to JFK, via Düsseldorf, in this case the flight would depart at 06:45 AM from Zürich to Düsseldorf... The issue is that we'd be spending the night in Luzern and taking the earliest train departing Luzern at 04:55 AM would take us to the airport by 06:13 AM... Our flight departs 30 minutes later 06:45 AM, but we'd only have carry-on luggage with us, and we'd be travelling "inside" Europe on our first leg to Düsseldorf, so no need to be 3 hours before departure time in the airport...

I believe this schedule is "extremely" tight, or is it doable? What other alternatives do I have? We don't want to spend the night in Zürich, and we would not want to spend 180 Swiss Francs that a taxi would charge us to get us to our airport)... The other option of course is to change travel dates altogether or travel later that same day...

Besides, we already purchased the Swiss travel pass for 3 days, so we might as well use it...

Thanks in advance!

Posted by
8889 posts

I don't think it is doable. You have to allow 10 minutes from the moment you step off the train until you reach the check-in desk.
It should say on your ticket or booking confirmation what the last check-in time is, it is usually 30 minutes for a full service airline, and 1 hour plus for a budget airline. Sorry.

How about flying the previous morning (at a more civilised time) to Düsseldorf, and spending a day there?

Posted by
7205 posts

Even if it was doable do you really want to be on the earliest departing train at 4:55??? Sure isn't the way I would want to spend my vacation time. They cancelled your flight...tell them to find you a decent alternative.

Posted by
104 posts

There are several alternatives, I was trying to figure out the one with "less" moving parts... But this alternative is definitely not viable!...

I appreciate your feedback! Thank you!

Posted by
31440 posts


I also don't think it will be possible, especially with only 30 minutes between arrival at the airport and flight time. In my experience, it can take much longer to get to the check-in area if you're flying on airlines other than Swiss Air. On my last departure from ZRH, by the time I figured out where I was going and got to the check-in desk (while hauling luggage), it took **at least 15 minutes (or maybe longer).

Your two options would seem to be.....

  1. Call the airline back and try to arrange a later flight.
  2. Stay in Zürich the night prior to your flight. If you decide on that option, have a look at the Walhalla Hotel, which is right next to the Zürich Hbf. The trip from there to the airport is only about 12 minutes, and there are frequent departures.

Good luck!

Posted by
270 posts

Stay in Zurich (or whatever city you are leaving out of the next day) the night before departure. I know it is somewhat of a let down after travelling but it is great to wake-up and be close to the airport and ready to go.

There is a Holiday Inn-esque hotel (but smaller), Apart-Hotel operated by Hilton, Hohenbühlstrasse 1, 8152 Opfikon (Zurich), Switzerland. At 2 kilometers it is a 5 minute shuttle ride to the airport. Clean, 'business style', with nice bathrooms and showers/tubs, a shuttle to pick you up from and take you to the airport. I believe the earliest shuttle departure in the morning is 5:45 a.m. but I could be wrong. They are great to deal with via email.

We usually park at the hotel, unload into the room, repack our bags, take the check-in bags to the airport that night and put them in lockers (or you can 'check' luggage for morning pick-up but be sure to check their opening hours--we cut ours close!). Incidentally we also weigh them that night (some people will say overkill but it is necessary for us) so we know that everything will check out when we check-in. Then we return the car to the rental company and take the hotel shuttle back to the hotel. The next morning we take the shuttle to the airport.

Posted by
104 posts

Thanks cabalist!... I did however make a change to a later flight that day, at a more "reasonable" departure time...

Posted by
2438 posts

We stayed at the Zurich airport hilton upon arrival (it was mid-evening) and it worked out well. It really is very close to the airport, if you're feeling athletic it's walkable.