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Zermatt to Geneva for 11:40 AM Flight

Would a train arriving in Geneva at 9:30 AM be enough time to get from the train to the terminal, check bags, get through passport control, and board a flight leaving at 11:40 AM?

If not, is there another way to get from Zermatt to Geneva on our own schedule that doesn't break the bank? Hiring a private car and driver looks like it's about $1000 USD.

The next earlier train I can see on the SBB app appears to be the evening before.

Posted by
20440 posts

Where is your flight going and what is the travel date?
According to the current schedule, the train actually arrives at GVA at 9:41 am. I ask your travel date because on a Saturday during ski season, GVA is an absolute zoo.

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you. That is good information.

It's a Saturday in December for a flight to the US. The schedule I saw said 9:27 arrival.

Posted by
20440 posts

https://www.sbb.ch/en/buying/pages/fahrplan/fahrplan.xhtml

For Saturday December 16: Dep Zermatt 5:37, arr Visp 6:46, dep Visp 7:06, arr GVA 9:41

December is early in the ski season, but GVA covers all of the big ski resorts in France as well as western Switzerland. Huge numbers are turning over that day flying back to the UK. Long lines at check in and long lines at security. The recommendation for flights back to the US is 3 hours. You safest option is to check out and take a train back at 8:13 pm Friday night, getting you to the airport at midnight and spending the night at a hotel at the airport. Or at a hotel by Cornavin station as it is only a 10 minute train to the airport from there.

I speak from experience.

Posted by
395 posts

Are you wed to staying in Zermatt the night before? You could perhaps take the train(s) to Visp
or some other intermediate point and then not have to get up in the middle of the night to get
to GVA.

If you have airline status and can cut the baggage check/security lines, that will help. But the line
at immigration will be a risk. Someone else may be able to answer if Geneva has E-passport
lines now (I was there over the summer but don't recall).

Having said all that, it will be 10-15 minutes from the train to the departures area of the airport,
so it seems like you should have enough time if everything goes well.

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you both. I must have been looking at the train timetable wrong. This does seem tight especially if it's 11:41 instead of 11:27. We have our hotel in Zermatt already booked the night before the flight and would like to not switch it, but we will definitely look into alternatives.

Is there a bus or shuttle that's not as expensive as a private driver? I thought I read that was an option for arrival to Zermatt, but I am not sure where or whether it applied to departures too.

Posted by
20440 posts

Sorry, but I don't know of any. The first train down to Taesch goes at 4:30. arriving at 4:42. That is where you would catch any sort of motor transport.

Posted by
6692 posts

It is never advisable to stay 100 miles away from an airport before a morning flight. Things happen whether going by either road or public transit.

The cost of changing your hotel to Geneva the night before will always be way less than the cost of a new airline ticket, or even of a private transfer. And avoids getting up at stupid o'clock.

You could still have a full last day in Zermatt, then do an evening transfer to Geneva.

Posted by
6652 posts

Thank you both. I must have been looking at the train timetable wrong.
This does seem tight especially if it's 11:41 instead of 11:27. We
have our hotel in Zermatt already booked the night before the flight
and would like to not switch it, but we will definitely look into
alternatives.

To be honest, my suggestion is that you give up trying to square this circle and spend the last night in Geneva instead. Even if you're taking a taxi from Täsch to the airport it still over 200 km and will take about 3 hours. If the first train from Zermatt arrives 4:42 in Täsch, it means you'll be at the airport around 7:40. Which is doable, but a bit more margin is not a bad idea when flying across the atlantic. Especially in the Alps in December.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks again to everyone who weighed in. As an update, the morning of the flight we took the first train from Zermatt to Visp and transferred to Geneva Airport with a 9:27 AM arrival. We checked our bags and got through security and passport control by 10:15 AM, in plenty of time for our 11:40 AM international flight. With any glitch along the way, this could have gone differently, of course, but I'm glad we decided not to give up our final night in Zermatt or pay a huge amount for a private transfer.

Posted by
2108 posts

Good to hear it went well. But I would have expected it to go well anyway. You found that you could get a bit earlier at the Airport changing trains in Lausanne. And you found out that SBB is reliable, and Swiss airports efficient.

That may be unexpected for some visitors. I however have no qualms about arriving at the airport 2 hours before an international flight. For intra Schengen flights I target one hour usually.

Posted by
6652 posts

Glad to hear it worked out for you, I hope you had a great trip!