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I am flying from Berlin to Zürich and continuing my travel by train. I am considering booking a fixed-connection train ticket, which is available for a train departing 1 hour 3 min after landing.

I have never been to Zürich Airport and don't know how large it is or how easy it is to reach the train station. So I have trouble calculating if there is a reasonable chance that I catch the train. What would be a rough estimate of the expected time needed to reach the train station, under following factors:

  • assume that the flight arrives roughly on time
  • I am an EU citizen, so shouldn't need to pass too many control points
  • I don't have checked luggage on that flight
  • I am flying with Swiss (do they get preferred slots close to the terminal, so the passengers don't need to wait for the bus?)
  • I have a cheap ticket, so won't be able to leave the plane early
  • I can sustain a brisk walking speed
  • assume that nothing out of the ordinary happens (e.g. security pulling me out for questioning)

If some other factor creates multiple expected times, I'll also be happy with an answer like "it's about 30 minutes if you land at Terminal 1, but takes over an hour if you land at Terminal 2", or whatever other (frequently encountered) condition can cause a significant difference.

  • Always tell the flight attendant about short connections, even if you have a "cheap" ticket; sometimes they will let you exit early. – Max Jun 14 '18 at 20:08
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    assume that the flight arrives roughly on time You are fine as long as this is true. However, as the saying goes: Man plans, God laughs. – Andrew Lazarus Jun 15 '18 at 18:33
  • @Max I've never been on a flight where the flight attendant has had any control over who in cattle-class gets off the plane first. – Martin Bonner supports Monica Jul 16 '18 at 15:16
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When you arrive with SWISS form Berlin, your Airplane will probably be parked at the Gates A, B or D or very rarely at an outside position. For gates A, B & D you will have a roughly 5 - 10 minutes walk to the exit and another 1 - 2 minutes to the train tracks. If you are parked at an outside position you will have a busride of 5 - 10 minutes and another 1 - 2 minutes to the exit. In either case you will be fine and should have plenty of time to make your connection.

There are 2 things that could get you to miss your connection:

  • Your flight is delayed for more than 30 minutes
  • Customs is highly interrested in you
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The trip is now over, and it went really well. We landed with almost 40 min delay (it was even more delayed when we started, the captain was able to make up some time in the air), but I only needed 15 minutes to go from the airplane to the train track. So I was able to comfortably catch the train.

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I was at Zurich Airport only last week (for my first visit there). It is not a huge airport. In my opinion, with the rules and assumptions you specify, I think you will make it from plane to train with plenty of time to spare.

The airport's website is quite helpful: https://www.zurich-airport.com/passengers-and-visitors/airport-services-en/site-plans

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Unfortunately, these days, any rules of thumb which used to be valid in former times (i.e. a countries flag carrier will always dock at the finger of the terminal) don't seem to be valid anymore.

Also in Zurich, your commute time heavily depends on if you arrive at the terminal where you need to go on a people mover to get to the other terminal.

So I would plan anything in between 30 minutes and 60 minutes between the scheduled arrival time and the time you will reach the airport's train station.

On any tighter schedule it will be just luck to make it or not.

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    60 minutes to get from plane to train station in Zürich without passport control and no checked bags? All Schengen flights arrive at gates A & B, so no people mover involved. The only risk is not parking directly at a gate and having to take a bus, but I would think this should be pretty rare at ZRH for such a flight. – jcaron Jun 15 '18 at 8:04

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