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Zurich layover time question - opinions please!

Alright all you savvy, experienced travelers...I need your opinion! I am a veteran at this myself but for some reason feel so uncertain about this!! I am ready to buy my flight. Los Angeles to Madrid. There is one flight that is about $200 cheaper than the next option. This one routes through Zurich with a 55 minute layover. A plane change and then on to Madrid. For some reason having only 55 min makes me nervous! I guess Swiss Air wouldn't offer it as a routing option if it wasn't doable. I have only been to Zurich airport once and I don't remember it very clearly. Anyone know more?? If I am arriving from LA and then need to get on a flight to Madrid...is it likely these will be near each other? Moving through this airport a streamlined process? I don't know what to do! Debating if it's worth saving that money but stressing about if I will make my connection!!!!!

Posted by
4526 posts

In 2012, I had a flight with exactly a 1 hour layover in Zurich (TXL - ZRH - IAD). My flight arrived 10 minutes late. I had to hustle to switch terminals and get through passport control, but I made the flight and so did my checked bag.

Personally, for a $200 savings, I'd risk a short connection in ZRH, but I hate sitting around in airports.

Worst case is you miss the connection and they put you on a later flight to MAD (either later in the day or you spend the night in ZRH and they fly you to MAD the next day). Would that ruin your plans? Would you be terribly stressed if you had to rush through the airport to make your flight?

Posted by
272 posts

Thanks for the reply Laura. Hearing from someone who has had the same scenario is what I was hoping for. A later flight to Madrid that night (if I missed the connection) would be OK but I have to get to Madrid that night. I have a train out of Madrid the next morning (where I meet up with my travel partner too) and we are going to the starting point for our Camino de Santiago hike. I am so torn. $200 is a big deal to me on this trip especially b/c the flights are so expensive this year. Ahhhhhh.......decisions decisions! I want to get this ticket bought so I will decide soon. Happy to hear input from anyone else! thank you

Posted by
5641 posts

55 minutes can be short if you are in the back of steerage and if you need to go through passport control and security screening. Does Zurich have an expedited passport control queue?

As mentioned above, it could be worth the savings if there are later flights.

When I am in a must get there on a certain date situation, I add a day or three of extra time to my itinerary especially if my gateway entry city is interesting and or new. The extra days helps jet lag adjustment and recovery from cheap seat compression. And if I miss a connection, or my gear misses a connection, the extra days are a blessing.

Posted by
272 posts

thanks for the input edgar.
i went back to look at the cheaper flight (55 min layover) today and price had gone up a bit. total savings was around $120. i debated and debated and decided just couldn't be comfortable with that tight of connection. paid the extra dollars, booked another flight which has a 2 hr layover in frankfurt. feel good about the decision!!
thanks for the input.

Posted by
6554 posts

If you've got to have a short layover in Europe, Zurich is the place to have one. It's a very efficient and not huge airport.

My best suggestion is to carry on your luggage if you have a short layover. You'll be assured to get your bag that way.