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ZRH Passport Control and Luggage Retrieval

We will be arriving at about 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday 11/29/23 from PHL.
What is a reasonable time to allow for checked luggage retrieval, clearing passport control and walking to the airport train station?
Also, are there Bank affiliated ATM’s in the ZRH terminal?
Thank-you.

Posted by
1625 posts

Over about 50 arrivals I have never needed more than 45 minutes form plane to train. But of course you could hit a bad day. Anyway, with a normal train ticket you just hop on the next train, no need to worry to much in advance which one you will take.

Posted by
20 posts

Over the past few years I've had several 8:30 AM arrivals in Zurich on the American Airlines flight from Philadelphia. Agree with the above poster that approximately 45 minutes is average for clearing Immigration and luggage retrieval, including the 10-minute commuter train ride between your arrival terminal and the main terminal. The train station with frequent trains going to all parts of Switzerland is in the main terminal so all that is required is an escalator to the lower level. Everything is well signed.. There are ATMs, but I don't remember if they are bank affiliated.

Posted by
2661 posts

I hit a bad day this past March. Over 90 minutes in the passport control line. You just never know how long it will take. It takes as long as it takes. 😀

Posted by
37 posts

I was on the Philadelphia flight arrival on September 13th. It took 90 minutes to get thru passport control. That did not include the time to get off the plane, take the train between terminals, and walk into the passport control area. There was a huge line that extended out into a long hallway, up some stairs, and then looped around the large area at the top of the stairs. It was a total of about 2 hours from getting off the plane before I got into the train station. I found a bank ATM while looking around for the train station.

Posted by
57 posts

Just went through Customs in September twice in Zurich, first time arrived and was in line to clear Customs from 10:30 am to 11:50 am. As leaving took 1 hour. Not quick!!

Posted by
1625 posts

I've never know of any queues at customs. That there are queues at immigration/exit passport control yes, but never at customs...

Posted by
37 posts

For those of us in the United States, many commonly refer to the entire border crossing process as "Customs". It may not be accurate, but it has historically been that way. Passport Control is not a term we would typically use in the US. If we do differentiate, we would probably say "Immigration" and "Customs" as the 2 components.

Posted by
3 posts

When I arrived in May of this year, there was a one hour long line at passport control. I arrived on Saturday, September 16 and the line took less than 20 minutes. After passport control, you collect your checked luggage and go without a need for customs.

Posted by
32712 posts

go without a need for customs

not that you noticed, but you will have passed a coloured door green/red/blue and they were there keeping watch

Posted by
2328 posts

I arrived in Zurich from Newark at noon on Sunday and things didn't go as smoothly as usual. First there was an (announced) delay for baggage claim (it was about 45 min), then the passport control hall was completely crowded. A friendly person directed holders of a Schengen passport to the electronic passport control, which was passed within five minutes, but everyone else did not have a good time there. While arriving in Zurich is usually a pleasure, this time I was reminded that no rule is without exception (not a big annoyance for me, because I had a transfer time of two hours between flight and train anyway).

Posted by
113 posts

Thanks everyone. We are continuing on to Basel and can drop our luggage off at our hotel early. Think we will allow 2 hours and spend any excess time shopping and maybe eating another breakfast.

Posted by
1409 posts

November is not high season for leisure travel and therefore, as mentioned, you should not experience a long wait for immigration. Luggage retrieval shouldn't take a long time either because ZRH is as efficient as one can get.