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Zurich airport transfer

We are arriving at Zurich airport from Chicago and are transferring to Florence Italy with 35 min to make the transfer!! Can anyone give me help with the fastest way to navigate the airport. Thanks in advance!

Posted by
23431 posts

Who put that schedule together?? I don't think you can do it. You need to go through immigration and that could take an hour or more on a good day. You cannot rely on the flight from Chicago being that on time at the gate and the amount of time you need to get off the plane unless you are sitting by the door. I may be missing something in your question 'cause it is not make a lot of sense. Are you on one ticket through to Florence or two separate tickets?

Posted by
4010 posts

Is this a one-ticket itinerary from Chicago to Florence or did you buy two separate tickets?

Posted by
848 posts

There are a lot of signs in English that guide you from your arrival gate through passport check and onto your connecting gate. I do agree with the other poster that 35 minutes is cutting it too close and hope that you are on a Chicago to Florence ticket in which case the airline should help with a later flight if you miss the original.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks for the quick responses!!
My ticket is actually booked from Denver to Chicago to Zurich to Florence --all on one ticket. Of course I talked with the people at United and they assured me that we could make the connection. I have since tried to get maps of Zurich airport and tried to find out if we had to go through immigration. I have gotten various answers about immigration...so have no option but to try to make it. I haven't found a good map of the airport either and hoped someone would have advice about to navigate the airport. I appreciate any advice, thanks.

Posted by
42 posts

For what it's worth, we were on a United (flown by Swiss Air) Chicago to Zurich flight this May with transfer to Venice. Arrived Zurich early am and found it easy to navigate through immigration to our gate. Took us less than 30 minutes to do it as it was pretty quiet in the airport. We had about a 90 minute layover and that timing made me nervous but since it was on one ticket I figured we'd get to Venice even if we missed that connection. We may have just been super lucky. Good luck!

Posted by
4010 posts

I am relieved to learn that it is on one ticket. I think 35 minutes is unrealistic and will be such a stressor. The airline agent said that it “could“ be done. That to me is odd advice and maybe it is potentially possible, why would anybody recommend it considering delays are always possible especially with transatlantic flights. I would recommend calling back and getting a different itinerary that gives you at least a 60 to 90 minute cushion for connecting flights.

Posted by
15562 posts

I have flown into Zurich twice. The walk from the gate to immigration took awhile. Then you probably have to wait a little bit to go through immigration. (Yes, you will go through immigration since it is your first stop in Schengen.) Once through immigration you then walk through baggage claim to get into the main terminal.

Considering you have to be at the gate no less than about 15 minutes before departure, the gods will really have to be on your side to make the flight.

The good news is......if you miss the flight through no fault of your own, they have to put you on the next available flight. But, if you could get it changed beforeyour arrival, the better.

Posted by
1976 posts

If the airline sold you this they believe this will work. And it probably will.

  • Transatlantic flights often arrive early
  • Zurich is compact and efficient.

Furthermore the airline has a pretty good idea where you are, as you are coming of another flight. They know when that flight landed, when it pulled up at the gate, when the passengers got off, and how long the queues at immigration are.
So they will not close the doors on the flight to Florence if they expect you to turn up any minute. The "be at the gate 15 minutes beforehand" rules is not strictly enforced on connecting passengers. They may even just bus you directly from your incoming flight to your next flight, doing immigration on the way.

And if you do miss your flight anyway, you will be put on the next flight, and the airline will give you vouchers for drinks and food, and you can claim a nice compensation afterwards. In Europe airline passenger rights are quite strong. Which is also why I expect the airline to go the extra km so that you really make your connection.

Posted by
3 posts

WOW! Thank you all for the advice and just taking the time to help someone you don't know!! I am amazed. I am going to try tonight to contact the airline and if my flight can't be changed, but if they can't I feel less anxious just knowing that there are people like you that will help. The airport map is wonderful and also helps with the anxiety. I'm hoping the Odds are in my favor. Again, many thanks.

Posted by
32244 posts

Although Zürich is a very efficient airport, I'm not convinced that 35 minutes will be enough to make the connection. As mentioned earlier, you will have to go through immigration as it's your first point of entry to the Schengen zone. If you're at the back of the queue with the other passengers from your flight in front of you, you may be waiting in the queue for awhile.

Several years ago, I had a 60 minute connection in Frankfurt to Florence, and thankfully I was at the front of the queue, but I had to run to the departure gate and just made it in time.

The airline may be right that a 35 minute connection will work, and I'll be interested to know if that's the case.

Posted by
23431 posts

Yes, see posting at 3.04pm on 9/18/22

Posted by
1976 posts

I had a look at recent flight arrivals and departures for ZRH on Flightaware and noticed that the flight from Chicago is usually half an hour early. On one day it was late, and guess what, on that day the flight to Florence also left late.

I will repeat that SWISS will certainly try hard to make this work, and they are quite pragmatic about it. If necessary they will just bus you from one flight directly to the next.