We are flying into Zurich from Istanbul in April and wonder how much time it is likely to take going through customs etc. We are US passport holders. SWant to figure out which train we can catch go to Lausanne. Thanks much.
Not exactly sure about the customs time as we have flown out of Zurich but not into. Just to let you know that the train station is directly below the terminal. Just take the elevator or escalator down. It's called the Zurich Flughafen on the www.rail.ch website. From there, you will most likely go 10 minutes to the Zurich HB (main station) to change trains to Lausanne. The trains from the airport are freqent.
The Zurich Airport train station is actually directly below the parking garage/shopping mall directly across the street from the terminal, but very easy to reach. There are direct trains from the airport to Lausanne, no need to change trains at the Zurich city station. When using the Swiss Rail site simply input "Zurich Airport"; it understands english. A lot depends on how many other flights are arriving at the same time, but Zurich is a very modern efficient airport. So 30 minutes from the time you step off the plane is a good guesstimate. There are direct trains from the airport to Lausanne every 30 minutes or so, travel time is 2 hours 20 minutes...no reason to stress about a specific departure. Geneva airport is actually closer to Lausanne; only 45 minutes by direct train. Check schedules at the Swiss Rail site: http://rail.ch
Just to confirm Michael's posting. You can take a train directly to Lausanne from the airport. No need to go into Zurich.
You do go into Zürich, but you don't change trains there. Since these direct trains to Lausanne depart every half hour, it is worth waiting for one rather than taking a route that involves a transfer at the Zurich main station. There is no need to reserve in advance, and in your case it would be a bad idea, as you don't know whether your plane will arrive on time and how long it will take to get through immigration/passport control (sometimes a bit of a line there). Customs is a non-event unless you have something to . You just walk through the "green line" into the arrivals hall. Look for the signs to the train station (there is a picture of a train if you don't speak German!) The Zürich airport is a real pleasure, if such can exist these days. I hope you arrival includs the little transfer train with the cowbells, birdsong, yodeling, and a hologram welcoming you to Switzerland.