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Dilemma -- will travel to ZRH be allowed for US residents/citizens in Dec 2021

Dilemma -- will travel to ZRH be allowed for US residents/citizens in Dec 2021

Old May 8, 21, 7:58 am
  #1  
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Dilemma -- will travel to ZRH be allowed for US residents/citizens in Dec 2021

Yesterday, I booked, rather hastily, a RT ticket to Zurich from Newark for travel in December 2021. I should have researched the covid situation a bit more carefully. It seems that Switzerland is not allowing access to US citizens. We are not staying in ZRH but driving to France to visit relatives. My dilemma: 1) I have 24 hours to cancel flight, 2) take my chances and hope that we can fly to ZRH in December, or 3) request a ETC of FFC. I bought business first tickets. Any advice on what I should do? Thank you.
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Old May 8, 21, 8:29 am
  #2  
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December is seven months away - And not that I have a crystal ball - however the progress in US and Europe is very promising towards getting travel back to "normal"-ish by fall and reducing restrictions. But it will depend on continuing vaccinations and assuming no gnarly variants. I would go for it.

--HAF
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Old May 8, 21, 8:42 am
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In general I would say the best arrangement is to avoid third-country transit, i.e. book travel with a nonstop flight between your departure and destination countries. That avoids the morass of transit rules which I'm sure will linger for quite some time.

However, if you see there is a large price difference for ticketing to France vs. to Switzerland, it may be worth the gamble. As noted, Europe / US travel restrictions may loosen before too long. But of course they may tighten again.
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Last edited by fumje; May 8, 21 at 9:54 am Reason: clarification
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Old May 8, 21, 9:21 am
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Originally Posted by fumje View Post
As noted, EU / US travel restrictions may loosen before too long. But of course they may tighten again.
just a quick note that Switzerland is NOT a part of the EU. While they do have a close relationship, they, IIRC, are not bound to most EU policies, so EU allowing Americans to travel doesn’t necessarily mean Switzerland will. That said, I’d guess there would be pressure to do so when all the countries surrounding it are. YMMV.

everything about international travel is a bit of a gamble right now, and nobody knows what the situation will be like in December - anyone (experts included) who tell you otherwise are at best giving an informed opinion. Any fallback will be that there are no change fees, so you will preserve the value of your ticket should travel still not be allowed by December. These decisions are going to be mostly personal. If you feel that traveling in Dec. will be allowed and you have the desire to so, go for it (but please take the recommended precautions to keep yourself and others safe - whatever those are at the time). If you feel that you need to have a refund should you not be able to travel in Dec - probably best to cancel now for a refund, and hold off until we know more about how things might look. Right now, these are pretty personal decisions in which everyone will need to use their own risk assessment to decide what consequences they are willing to accept/risk. Posters on this board can share their own assessments, but that might differ from yours. YMMV
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Old May 8, 21, 9:54 am
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Originally Posted by emcampbe View Post
just a quick note that Switzerland is NOT a part of the EU. While they do have a close relationship, they, IIRC, are not bound to most EU policies, so EU allowing Americans to travel doesn’t necessarily mean Switzerland will. That said, I’d guess there would be pressure to do so when all the countries surrounding it are. YMMV.

everything about international travel is a bit of a gamble right now, and nobody knows what the situation will be like in December - anyone (experts included) who tell you otherwise are at best giving an informed opinion. Any fallback will be that there are no change fees, so you will preserve the value of your ticket should travel still not be allowed by December. These decisions are going to be mostly personal. If you feel that traveling in Dec. will be allowed and you have the desire to so, go for it (but please take the recommended precautions to keep yourself and others safe - whatever those are at the time). If you feel that you need to have a refund should you not be able to travel in Dec - probably best to cancel now for a refund, and hold off until we know more about how things might look. Right now, these are pretty personal decisions in which everyone will need to use their own risk assessment to decide what consequences they are willing to accept/risk. Posters on this board can share their own assessments, but that might differ from yours. YMMV
Yes, thanks and sorry that was not clear, absentmindedly used EU as shorthand for Europe. Even regarding the European Union in particular, not all countries are doing the same, so it takes a bit of parsing rules.

This thread may be of interest:
Speculative TATL UA bookings pros and cons

Or maybe discussion will be merged.
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Old May 8, 21, 10:03 am
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I would not worry about Switzerland and December. As a vaccinated US citizen your chance of flying to ZRH in December is as high as it can possibly be. Worse comes to worse you get a free change or FFC.
I am certainly booked EWR-ZRH and have no doubt it will be o.k. but YMMV.
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Old May 8, 21, 10:13 am
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Originally Posted by emcampbe View Post
Switzerland is NOT a part of the EU. While they do have a close relationship, they, IIRC, are not bound to most EU policies, so EU allowing Americans to travel doesn’t necessarily mean Switzerland will. That said, I’d guess there would be pressure to do so when all the countries surrounding it are. YMMV.
Slightly off topic, but the EU doesn't decide entry requirements. Individual countries do. So EU could say 'open' and individual countries closed.
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Old May 8, 21, 10:38 am
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Originally Posted by fumje View Post
In general I would say the best arrangement is to avoid third-country transit, i.e. book travel with a nonstop flight between your departure and destination countries. That avoids the morass of transit rules which I'm sure will linger for quite some time.

However, if you see there is a large price difference for ticketing to France vs. to Switzerland, it may be worth the gamble. As noted, Europe / US travel restrictions may loosen before too long. But of course they may tighten again.
This is good advice. When you involve three countries you are going to have work with the least common denominator on what’s permissible, I.e. French, Swiss & US rules and the general pattern of ”have you visited country XYZ in the last 10 days” which may still be in effect in December. Right now there are major differences between the European countries.
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Old May 8, 21, 10:55 am
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Why did you pick ZRH over GVA?

If we are in a situation where France is accepting US pax and Switzerland is not, GVA will likely, with typical Swiss efficiency, let one exit out the French side.

That said,I agree that third country transit adds to the uncertainty.
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Old May 8, 21, 12:47 pm
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Originally Posted by Miles Ahead View Post
Why did you pick ZRH over GVA?

If we are in a situation where France is accepting US pax and Switzerland is not, GVA will likely, with typical Swiss efficiency, let one exit out the French side.

That said,I agree that third country transit adds to the uncertainty.
Actually Basel would be ideal, as it sits in France with Swiss and French exits, and likely closer to your destination. Doubt there will be any TATLs there yet in Dec? I believe DL served it daily from JFK pre-cv?
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Old May 8, 21, 2:46 pm
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Originally Posted by tcdtcd View Post
Actually Basel would be ideal, as it sits in France with Swiss and French exits, and likely closer to your destination. Doubt there will be any TATLs there yet in Dec? I believe DL served it daily from JFK pre-cv?
BSL is indeed the often-overlooked 3rd (in size) airport in Switzerland. I doubt DL ever flew there.
There was some speculation a few years back that UA might land some corporate contracts with the local pharma companies for TATL n/s service; but that never materialized.
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Old May 8, 21, 3:28 pm
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Originally Posted by tcdtcd View Post
Actually Basel would be ideal, as it sits in France with Swiss and French exits, and likely closer to your destination. Doubt there will be any TATLs there yet in Dec? I believe DL served it daily from JFK pre-cv?
no, LX tried it decades ago because pharma in BSL was whining about. Was an economic disaster and they cut it after a few months.
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Old May 8, 21, 3:28 pm
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Originally Posted by cesco.g View Post
BSL is indeed the often-overlooked 3rd (in size) airport in Switzerland. I doubt DL ever flew there.
There was some speculation a few years back that UA might land some corporate contracts with the local pharma companies for TATL n/s service; but that never materialized.
I do recall at least one daily TATL at a point in time. Maybe it was Swiss or Swissair? Coulda sworn it was a US carrier.
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Old May 8, 21, 3:41 pm
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I'd give it an excellent chance for you to be able to fly in December to Switzerland.-

Our vaccine program is making steady progress, and despite our early opening-up, case numbers have slightly lowered, and hospital cases are slowly but steadily going down as well.

I'd expect everything going "semi-normal" by sometime summer.
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Old May 8, 21, 9:46 pm
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USA is no longer considered a high risk country for Switzerland so transit to other Schengen through Switzerland is allowed now if the destination Schengen country allows entry? Speculating a trip to Europe this summer and LX has some very attractive premium fares. Unfortunately these fares are booked on UA codeshare LX so PQP is not very much.
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