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Zurich or Munich airport for overnight layover?

I will be flying from Santorini to Washington DC in late May of next year on United, and it looks as if I will need to change planes and spend the night either in Zürich, using Edelweiss Air, or in Munich, using Lufthansa. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to spend any time in either city; both flights get in after 8:30 PM and leave around noon the next day. So I will spend the night in the airport. Thanks in advance for any advice.

Posted by
16761 posts

Both airports have hotels on premises, Hilton at Munich and Radisson Blu at Zurich. Both are expensive (+$200) with Zurich the more expensive as you would expect. Munich also has a Novotel on the airport grounds that is a lot less expensive and several even less expensive close by. Off property airports are more expensive at Zurich.

Posted by
844 posts

Are you planning to sleep IN the airport, and asking which airport is better for this? Or are you planning to stay in a hotel nearby overnight?

If staying in a hotel, I would also choose Munich. Nearby hotels will be cheaper. I would be looking for a hotel with a restaurant that is open late and serves a good breakfast. Food option in the airport will probably be limited when you arrive.

Posted by
809 posts

Thanks for the responses so far. I plan to sleep in a hotel at or near the airport. I spent one night on an airport floor many years ago, and that was all the airport sleeping I need in this lifetime.

Posted by
809 posts

Booking.com shows an Ibis Budget near the Zurich airport - does anyone have experience with that hotel?

Posted by
27713 posts

Ibis Budget used to be called Étap - did you know them under that name? Very very basic with bunk beds.

Posted by
5462 posts

While I believe that Lufthansa also has a "commuter" subsidiary, you didn't mention that specifically. Because United has code-shares with United, and gives point for Lufthansa flights, (and in my experience, Lufthansa does well with cancelled flights or disruptions ... ) I would err on the side of Lufthansa. However, I have only flown through Athens while in Greece.

Posted by
847 posts

I would go for Zurich for sure. This airport is far more efficient and manageable than Munich. It offers more accessibility and greater flight punctuality. Also, Ibis Budget is perfectly OK; there are several bed types to choose from. Munich is not bad, but I prefer Zurich.

In fact, I just flew from both airport earlier in October. In Munich, the train station is quite a walk away from Terminal 2, where Lufthansa is located. Luggage carts are not free. Whereas in Zurich, carts are free and the train station is much closer to the check-in counters.

Posted by
16761 posts

The train station has no bearing on the OP's issue. I would prefer Zurich, all things being equal, but they are not. Less expensive food and lodging at Munich, which is a perfectly good airport.

Posted by
809 posts

Nigel, Back in 2014 we stayed in the ibis budget Roissy 2 at Charles de Gaulle airport. The room reminded me of an inexpensive cabin on a cruise ship. Fine for one overnight for me.

Good point about making sure there is a restaurant available. I will leave Athens around 7 or 8 pm, depending on which one I choose, so I might be able to eat in Athens airport before leaving, but a little bedtime snack might be nice.

I will be booking the whole thing through United, so. I’m not sure that the difference between Lufthansa and Edelweiss is important. Wouldn’t United have to help me out with any problems in either case?

Posted by
1386 posts

I spent a night at the Novotel in MUC in Aug on my way home from Corfu. The hotel is a few miles away and bus 635? goes there. Cost is 2-3 euros each way. Bus stops outside the Novotel and the ride is about 10 mins. The Novotel was much cheaper than the Hilton which I believe is attached to the terminal and hence charges the higher rates.

Overall a decent hotel for a quick stay. I did not try the food at the hotel since we arrived close to midnight and left around 8 the next morning - decided to go into the LH senator lounge for b'fast. Staff at the hotel was helpful especially with printing forms (attestation) which turned out not to be needed. There are lots of other hotels around MUC but not sure what the transportation options are.

Posted by
5462 posts

Kathleen, I was just adding a data point to consider. We hope there will be no connecting flight failures or say, volcano eruptions. I think it is unlikely that United has any dedicated Service Desks in either of those two airports. But Lufthansa has plenty of them. (Before I fly internationally again, I will look into that issue.)

Even if I get a few less points, I will usually choose a transatlantic flight on Lufthansa code-shared with United, rather than vice-versa, because I find the service and comfort much better on Lufthansa. Of course, I don't know what's available in Wash D.C.