Zurich airport - Kloten Airport
Updated March 2016
The airport is just 13 Kilometers from the city, which can be reached by fast, regular trains in 9 to 13 minutes. They run from around 5 am to just before 1 am the following night. However,the walk from the station to or from the arrivals and departures areas takes you through a major shopping mall and you should allow as much as 20 minutes to pass through it; longer, to navigate Security and reach the gates.
To get to the city there are basically three alternatives: train, tram, or taxi.
Trains: The Swiss Railways network (SBB) has a station under the airport. The journey time to Zurich Central Station (Hauptbanhof) takes a mere 10 minutes with up to six services every hour, at peak times.
Besides, other major destinations in Switzerland can be reached directly from the airport. You will find ticket machines in the customs halls, or puchase your ticket, along with very helpful tourist advice from the Information Desk. A day ticket, valid for 24 hours, allows travel to Zurich and all its public transport (tram, buses, boats) for as little as 13.20CHF; a single ticket costs 6.60CHF (in both cases children 6-16 years-old pay half).
Trams: You could also take Trams nos.10 and 12 to Zurich's Central Station. The journey takes about 40 minutes but may be useful if your final destination is along its route; the fares are the same as, and interchangeable with the train.
There is a bus terminal under the P2 car park, which serves many towns and villages in the region.
Coaches: For destinations further away in Switzerland, including major ski resorts, there are various coach services.
The taxi rank can be found outside the Arrivals area. Depending on road conditions the journey should take around 20 minutes and cost CHF70.
Generally, if your destination is central Zurich, take the train. For other destinations enquire at the Information Desk, where you can also purchase the tickets. Alternatively, you can buy tickets for all rail and bus services from the SBB tickets machines, or counters.
The 330-room Radisson Blu is the only hotel with direct walking access to the terminal. The airport's train station takes you to central Zurich in about 10 minutes, making this hotel a viable, practical solution for a short stay. A 24-hour return ticket costs 13.20CHF and will allow the use of all tram, bus, and even boat services in Zurich.
Transit Hotel - it is situated in the transit area near Gates B and D. It provides private rooms with television and wash basin. Some rooms have windows.
Full bathroom facilities, and showers are included (towels, toiletries, and hair dryers are provided). The prices depend on the number of passengers, and whether it is used during the night, or daytime periods. If during the day it depends also on the number of hours:
Daytime: singles from 45CHF (3 hours) to 75CHF (more than 6 hours)
Nighttime: singles from 94CHF for a single to 165CHF for a triple
Alternatively, you can rent a partly open cubicle with a reclining chair that folds flat. It comes with a blanket and a locker for valuables (see photograph, below).
Reclining chairs range from 20CHF (3 hours) to 40CHF (all night)
Showers are possible for passengers who do not use the accommodation: the price is CHF15.
To book: email firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a Left-luggage office near the Service Center on Level 1 of the car park 2 (closed between 10.30pm and 6 am). Other than shopping bags, most items can be left for up to 3 months.
Prices depend on length of time and size of luggage (hand baggage or larger item):
up to 4hrs (5CHF, 7CHF); up to 12hrs (6CHF, 9CHF); up to 24hrs (8CHF, 12CHF); extra days (5CHF, 7CHF); after 15days (2.50CHF, 3.50CHF)
For up to 72 hrs you can use the lockers that come in 3 sizes: 6CHF, 8CHF, and 9CHF for a maximum of 12hrs, rising gradually to 21CHF, 23CHF, and 29CHF for 72 hours. Pay in advance for 12hrs; if you use it longer you will be requested to pay the difference. Use coins (Swiss francs or Euros)
SIM cards are available in the public Shopping Centre: from Swisscom, Sunrise Center, or Salt Store. All three are located on Level 0, on either side of the food court. They are open daily from 8am to 9pm.
On arrival at the airport, you will find just about anything in the public area: supermarkets, big and small; eating and drinking places (e.g. Starbucks Coffee, McDonalds, sandwich bars, Sushi and Asian restaurants, and many more). There are clothing and sports shops, as well as a Post Office, Banks and plenty of ATMs; plus chemist, dry-cleaners, shoe repairs; hairdresser and even a Fitness Centre.
Prices, as expected at airports, and particularly in Switzerland, are not cheap. If using the food court in the public area, you could save on drinks by purchasing them in one of the nearby supermarkets, and bringing them to the table to go along with the edibles that you buy from the food counters.
Baggage trolleys are free to use and can be found once you reach the airport itself. You can find them also air-side.
There are three zones for check-in, some exclusive to certain airlines:
Check-in 3 is immediately above the railway station and is the nearest and most practical, but restricted to: Swiss, Lufthansa, Austrian, Lot, TAP, Croatia, Edelweiss, Easyjet, and self-service check-in for United Airlines.
Check-in 1 all airlines above, except Easyjet, can also go to Check-in 1, as well as Eurowings, Germanwings, SAS, and United.
Check-in 2 is for all other airlines. Some of these offer evening check-in, the day before the flight.
Railway station check-in
If you are flying by Swiss or Edelweiss, you can check-in at major Swiss railway stations (35), collecting your boarding-card and dispatching your luggage (22CHF per item).
Wi-Fi is free for 60 minutes but you must register by giving a mobile telephone number, which receives the key that allows you to log in. The registration is valid for 6 months. Additional time can be purchased at 6.90CHF for 1 hour. You can also buy 4 hours or 24 hours for 9.90CHF and 14.90CHF
Besides, there are a number of Internet stations both air-side and in the public areas of the airport. The free credit applies to these also.
There are various banks and foreign exchange desks throughout the airport: Credit Suisse, UBS, and Travelex are present air-side and in the public zones, including the Arrivals area, Check-in 1 and Check-in 2.
Credit Suisse, UBS, and Die Post have branches at the airport and offer fuller banking services.
Cash dispensing machines are found throughout the airport both in the public areas and air-side.
For short stays in Zurich, you may not need to change money at all. Credit cards are accepted just about everywhere and paying for a simple coffee with one is not frowned upon. Besides, Euros are widely accepted, although you may lose on the exchange rate. At the time of writing the Euro is worth nearly 10% more than the Swiss Franc. Use Credit Cards!
If you live outside Switzerland, you can claim back VAT on goods purchased in the previous 30 days. Currently, VAT is charged at 8%.
There are a few points to bear in mind: Switzerland is not part of the European Union and therefore EU residents are eligible for the VAT refund; but you can only reclaim the tax if the value of the purchases is over CHF 300 in any one day and vendor.
You can obtain the refund air-side from the desks of Global Blue, Premier Tax Free, and Travelex, after you get your forms stamped by Customs. Note, that if the purchases are in your hold baggage, you must inform the airline on check-in, so that they allow you to carry the bags to the Customs desk located land-side near Check-in 1. Customs will, then, be responsible to dispatch the checked-in items on their way to the aircraft. Alternatively, if the goods are in the hand-baggage, the Customs inspection takes place in their air-side office past the Security checks.
Although you will see mentions to four different terminals, there are, in fact, just two separate buildings: one comprising gates A, B, and D; the other, for gates E, on the opposite side, across the runway, that is reached in 3 minutes by an underground train, the Skymetro.
Charging stations for mobiles, tablets, etc, are no longer available at Zurich airport. If you have a travel adapter you can find electrical sockets in many places, for instance, in the seating area next the window in the Airside Center
The Amavita Pharmacy (Apotheke in German) can be found both land-side in the Check-in 1 area, and in the main Shopping Centre (Level 0); and air-side, from 6am to 10pm, in the pier that leads towards gates B and D.
The Post office is open every day from 7.30am (8 am on weekends and public holidays) to 9 pm. It is located at Level 0 (that is two floors above the railway station, which is at Level -2. Use the escalators or the lift) between the supermarket Migros and Foodland, a series of counters with a variety of fast-food restaurants.
The following airlines have their own Lounge for their business and first-class passengers:
Swiss International Airlines
Economy class passengers, may obtain access to some Lounges by paying an entrance fee or having registered to certain Lounge membership cards like Priority Pass
There is no maximum time limit; passengers may stay until closing time.
Dnata Skyview Lounge - Open from 6:00AM to 10:00PM - Fee: CHF 38 or with Priority Pass.
Panorama Lounge - Open from 6:00AM to 10:00PM - Fee CHF 36 or with Priority Pass
Aspire Lounge - Open from 5:30AM to 9:00PM - Fee: CHF 35 or with Priority Pass.
Swiss Lounge Senator/Business (gate D) - Open from 6:00AM to 9PM - only by airline invitation or with Priority Pass.
Swiss Business Lounge (gate A) - Open from 5:45AM to 10:30PM - only by airline invitation or with Priority Pass.
There are a few smoking rooms before you go air-side. After you pass Security you will find nearly 20 smoking lounges, just about everywhere, including many near the departure gates.
Shopping and Catering
If the profusion of shopping and catering offers in the public zones has not satisfied your desires and depleted your wallet, don't worry, as once past Security you will find the usual stores selling duty-free items, the latest fashion labels, including accessories, watches and jewellry, gifts and books, along with bars and restaurants to occupy your time until the flight is called.
Besides, there are Internet zones with large-screen computers in various locations in the Departure concourses, with some free time allowed as described above in the Wi-Fi section.