Zurich Airport

Zurich is a nice city, but its airport is not that user friendly.

The Security is not as tight as it is in Frankfurt Airport – they did not ask passengers to remove their shoes or their belts with metal buckles. Neither was there any patting like what happens in Frankfurt and in all U.S. airports these days. I am sure they would catch anyone carrying prohibited substances though, however it is better to point out potential lacunae for the safety of the airport and its passengers.

For passengers having a long transit time, Zurich Airport is definitely not the place to be in. In the “E” section where I was holed up for some 6 hours, there were hardly any passengers waiting at 7 AM and also there were just two simple coffee shops. What about breakfast, I wondered.

I braced myself for some bad time, and it indeed was – there was hardly any activity, and finally I grabbed some muffin and simple sandwich, there was no HOT breakfast available. The coffee shop even refused to warm up the muffin (I don’t know what policy is that) but agreed to warm the sandwich. A very simple breakfast costs more than USD 15 with coffee thrown in – now anyone can understand the reason why these high-cost economies would not survive the onslaught of the emerging cost-competitive economies. The coffee costs more than USD 3 at a simple coffee shop and a 500 ml mineral water bottle costs around the same. Bottle of Coke Zero (diet coke) also costs more than USD 3 [the actual prices were in CHF Swiss Francs].

Of course, one can get some nice chocolates because let us not forget this is Switzerland !

The airport is clean and simple, and I could not fail to notice the exposed concrete ceiling – reminded me of some Indian airports perennially under construction. There was no construction going on in Zurich Airport, however, but the unplastered ceiling was not looking nice. The simple view from the airport was nice – green and hilly terrain outside the airport area.

There were lots of free magazines displayed at several places around the airport waiting area, but alas, all of these were in German. How can they be so international ?!!!

There was no free water sprouts anywhere, and you enrich Evian or some other mineral water supplier due to the need to keep yourself hydrated. The gents’ washrooms were all two stair case sections up with no elevators for reaching them. Neither were they absolutely clean, giving a lie to Swiss cleanliness standards so proudly proclaimed.

All in all, Zurich is an international airport to be avoided, unless one’s connecting flight is within a span of an hour or so. Otherwise it is a designed killing of time.


Vijay Srinivasan
15th May 2011


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