With so few flights operating from Basel, we chose to fly home from Germany via Zurich Airport. We arrived a bit early to planespot, but the real story was how desolate the airport was.
Pictures: Desolate Zurich Airport
As we pulled in, it was clear this was not a normal day (or season or year, for that matter). While Zurich is always on the quiet side, today we had the drop-off area to ourselves…all to ourselves.
Inside, we were the only passengers in line to check in for our British Airways flight. No one joined the line, despite a ~20 minute infant ticketing snafu.
Past security, we found a deserted duty free store.
And a mostly empty concourse.
Planespotting? We watched the last United Airlines flight of the season depart for Washington Dulles. United won’t serve Zurich again till spring. But today we were traveling to London.
All lounges were closed (at least the ones that I had access too..I expect one of the SWISS lounges was open). We stopped at Marché for a 5CHF cup of black coffee (Switzerland…). It was one of the only concessionaires open.
After proceeding through an empty passport control, we found our gate area…which was about as full as our flight.
It remains an odd time to fly. In fact, airports have not been emptier in many European cities. While I am hopeful the road recovery will be swift as more are vaccinated, these eerie days of empty airports will be with us for awhile.
My trip was in January 2021. This is part of my “flight” to Germany trip report.
I like this trip report about Zurich airport.
Looks like the city center of Zurich after 9PM.
That coffee price is not that far from what we pay here. Anything you buy inside an airport makes you feel you were robbed.
It is odd to see ZRH like that. I miss the “mooooo” train
I only saw some Edelweiss-livery 340s parked at E. It looks like most, if not all LH traffic is now leaving out of D, so the Heidi train probably isn’t even running.
Swiss road boarder crossings seem to function as they always do: they stop a lot of people. On the way in, the Swiss are looking for people smuggling meat (and, on the motorway crossings, probably enforcing the motorway sticker). On the way out, everyone else is looking for “tax free” cash.
Is there any border control between Germany and Switzerland right now, and what is that like? A few years ago we encountered an overzealous border guard driving from Cham to Martigny. This bloke literally ripped apart our entire car, going through suitcases, checking the tyre well, and examining the undercarriage with a flashlight. Other times I’ve crossed and there was just a sign with no need to even stop. Just curious how this is handled in Covid times.
Not sure about Covid times but I do the Frankfurt to Basel drive quite a lot during normal times. Basel is almost always manned and it’s 50/50 as to whether they actually stop you. Mostly they are looking to see that you have the toll sticker for Switzerland (If not they will sell you one there). Other crossings (like driving from Munich) seem to be less serious…they are smaller border centers and I usually breeze right through without stopping. I guess the Basel one is so huge and accounts for so much commercial traffic that it’s watched more carefully.
Stuart, it sounds like you have clients all over Europe. You must be very talented at what you do.
In July it looked the same
CDG in Paris is the opposite. Not all the terminals are open, true, but some of the ones that are, like 2E’s Hall K, are pretty busy. Most shops, duty free, and concessionaires are open, and given half the seats are taped over you have to walk around to find an empty seat.
Circumstances around it are obviously sad, but I enjoy empty airports. It makes for very relaxing travel. T2 at LHR is often this empty in the winter afternoon. I will miss this when the world is back up on its feet.
It would be nice if arrivals during the pandemic didn’t use the satellite concourse at LHR T2 so passengers wouldn’t be subject to the lengthy up-and-down trek to border controls. Also, the border controls were a mess the last time I passed through a week or so ago. It took well over an hour to get to use the e-gates. Normally I’m not too worried about being exposed to SARS-CoV-2, but standing in a lengthy queue for over an hour with strangers who don’t practice good pandemic hygiene is not what I would consider safe. I am not fanatical about wearing masks, but lackadaisical mask wearing in such an environment is a pretty good sign to steer clear of someone.
You really like to “push it.” Selecting airlines that don’t require your child to where a mask & flying all over the place. Your part of the problem.