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Airport layover times enough? Zurich 2 hours outbound, Frankfurt 1.5 hours inbound

I am traveling with wife and two older teenagers to Italy in summer. On the outbound flight we have a roughly 2 hours (one hour 55 minutes) layover in Zurich (ZRH) and inbound we have roughly one 1.5 hours (one hour 40 minutes) transfer time at Frankfurt (FRA). Would these be enough in Covid times?

  • The outbound flights are: United Airlines (business class) to Zurich and from Swiss air (business class) from Zurich to Naples. Immigration will be needed (US citizens) at ZRH airport.
  • The inbound flights are: Lufthansa (economy class) Milan Linate airport (LIN) to Frankfurt and United (premium plus) back to the US. No immigration involved at FRA airport as within EU.

All tickets have been booked thru United via their website. We will check-in our 4 bags as couple of them may be just a bit bigger than regular carry-on bags.

I can make some changes to the flights if needed but I got good deals on these flights for business class + premium plus and changes will get me economy tickets and probably end up paying more :)

For the inbound I can get an earlier ticket from Milan to Frankfurt to have a longer layover but that flight is much earlier in the morning (making it inconvenient).

Posted by
3204 posts

The inbound flights are: Lufthansa (economy class) Milan Linate
airport (LIN) to Frankfurt and United (premium plus) back to the US.
No immigration involved at FRA airport as within EU.

Immigration (or rather emigration) is involved since you are leaving the Schengen area.

Posted by
21 posts

Immigration (or rather emigration) is involved since you are leaving
the Schengen area.

OK. Is the layover time enough or is it too tight?

Posted by
53 posts

I think an hour and a half in Frankfurt is tight in "normal" times. Not sure how badly covid might affect that, but we've not had overly good luck and experiences transferring in Frankfurt!

Posted by
13079 posts

Two hours in good for Zurich, but I would want more than 1.5 hours for Frankfurt—-especially before a long-haul flight.

Posted by
11246 posts

The Swiss are very efficient and as long as your arriving plane is on time, you should be fine. (I once landed in Zurich and was able to catch a train departing one hour after arrival. And that included time for a coffee in between.)

Posted by
21 posts

I think an hour and a half in Frankfurt is tight in "normal" times.
Not sure how badly covid might affect that, but we've not had overly
good luck and experiences transferring in Frankfurt!

Thanks for the input @kimmiek. I will be interested in hearing what went wrong in your experience of transferring in Frankfurt.

Posted by
849 posts

I agree that ZRH is super efficient and you shouldn't have problems.

For your inbound trip, can you still change it to a Swiss one via ZRH?

FRA can be freaking frustrating to deal with--it's nothing like Zurich. I just transferred at FRA from a LH long haul flight to an intra-EU one all on business class. At FRA, it took me 45 min to clear immigration and I had to wait in line for 30 min just to enter the lounge. Also, according to a friend who worked at LH Group, this airport pays peanuts to its staff and therefore their employees cannot be motivated enough to help passengers.

Your LH flight lands in a different terminal from your UA flight. Immigration can be slower because of reduced staffing. YMMV.

Posted by
53 posts

Unannounced gate changes a couple of times, we were sitting at the gate with several other passengers, they changed the gate and "forgot" to announce that we needed to move! We along with many others had to scramble to get to our new gate in time. Evidently this happens somewhat frequently and the second time those in the know (guess we had forgotten about the previous occurrence!!) told us to beware, so after that we watched what was happening a little more closely. Our first time in the Frankfort airport it was a bit confusing layout, after that we at least had some idea what to look for. Honestly, I'm not that thrilled with only 90 minutes even at O'Hare which I know like the back of my hand, and they always announce and in English!!