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  #21  
Old 02.03.2021, 11:37
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Re: Commuting between UK and Switzerland

I last saw my family a year ago. Trips back to Scotland were cancelled for June, September and January and the flights I had for April were cancelled by EasyJet last week (I need to get back to see my solicitor, his daughter is a nurse on a Covid unit and he told me back in November to forget January as he knew we wouldn't be travelling).

I've now got flights booked for September, but am wondering how long it's going to take to get vaccinated in Basel. We registered on the waiting list as soon as it opened, but read in yesterday's Basel news there was very little point in doing so. At the moment anyone arriving in Scotland has to do the quarantine hotel thing so there's no point attempting to travel, we're just sitting tight
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  #22  
Old 02.03.2021, 11:41
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Re: Commuting between UK and Switzerland

I commute regularly between UK and Switzerland (generally weekly). The biggest pain now is the need for a PCR within 72 hours meaning:

1. PCR test at 6AM Friday morning at Zurich airport - get results by 12:00 on Friday lunch
2. Fly back Friday to UK Friday PM
3. Fly back Sunday PM which allows the same PCR test to be used for the return journey

Some points:

1. Regular weekly commuters are exempt from quarantine in both UK and Switzerland. This is covered here as 'Regular Commuters'

https://www.gov.uk/government/public...k-border-rules

In the Swiss side this is covered by:

https://www.bag.admin.ch/bag/en/home...html#103059051

Under 'People travelling on business for an important reason that cannot be postponed.'

I got this confirmed (at least in Zurich canton) from the local gdstab office for myself as I work in IT and I cannot connect remotely outside of the country (the infra has both IP and GPS checks to login). Myself and a colleague also confirmed separately this is still valid after the UK variant was announced and both of us had replies from different people at the same office confirmed as still being valid.

However if you're in the UK or similar high risk country for 5 days the commuting exemption is revoked and you have to quarantine when you return to Switzerland, so for example if you go back for a week (as I did recently) I'm back in quarantine in my apartment here until tomorrow.

I can also confirm that queues at border control at Heathrow have been grim some weeks - almost 2 hours last Friday for example.

The other pain has been flight cancellations. I'm only trusting Swiss now as have been let down multiple times by both Easyjet (who I used extensively pre-Covid) and BA cancelling flights for months on end at late notice, often meaning you then had to buy more expensive late notice flights. So I'd say stick with Swiss for at least the short term.

Biggest issue is the cost really at present - gone from 60-90 quid for a return Easyjet flight each week to a total of 250-300 per week for the Heathrow Swiss flight (80-100) plus the costs of the fast PCR test at the airport (195CHF).

Last edited by Spaceghost; 02.03.2021 at 12:40.
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  #23  
Old 02.03.2021, 12:25
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Re: Commuting between UK and Switzerland

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I commute regularly between UK and Switzerland (generally weekly). The biggest pain now is the need for a PCR within 72 hours meaning:

1. PCR test at 6AM Friday morning at Zurich airport - get results by 12:00 on Friday lunch
2. Fly back Friday to UK Friday PM
3. Fly back Sunday PM which allows the same PCR test to be used for the return journey

Some points:

1. Regular weekly commuters are exempt from quarantine in both UK and Switzerland. This is covered here as 'Regular Commuters'

https://www.gov.uk/government/public...k-border-rules

In the Swiss side this is covered by:

https://www.bag.admin.ch/bag/en/home...html#103059051

Under 'People travelling on business for an important reason that cannot be postponed.'

I got this confirmed (at least in Zurich canton) from the local gdstab office for myself as I work in IT and I cannot connect remotely outside of the country (the infra has both IP and GPS checks to login). Myself and a colleague also confirmed separately this is still valid after the UK variant was announced and both of had replies from different people at the same office confirmed as still being valid.

However if you're in the UK or similar high risk country for 5 days the commuting exemption is revoked and you have to quarantine when you return to Switzerland, so for example if you go back for a week (as I did recently) I'm back in quarantine in my apartment here until tomorrow.

I can also confirm that queues at border control at Heathrow have been grim some weeks - almost 2 hours last Friday for example.

The other pain has been flight cancellations. I'm only trusting Swiss now as have been let down multiple times by both Easyjet (who I used extensively pre-Covid) and BA cancelling flights for months on end at late notice, often meaning you then had to buy more expensive late notice flights. So I'd say stick with Swiss for at least the short term.

Biggest issue is the cost really at present - gone from 60-90 quid for a return Easyjet flight each week to 250-300 per week for the Heathrow Swiss flight along with the fast PCR test at the airport (195CHF).
Wow that sounds like a huge pain and exorbitant cost. I don’t know how you put up with this weekly! Thanks very much for sharing! 👍🏻
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  #24  
Old 02.03.2021, 12:30
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Re: Commuting between UK and Switzerland

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PCR test at 6AM Friday morning at Zurich airport - get results by 12:00 on Friday lunch
That's cool to know the result comes back so fast. I'm seriously thinking of going on holiday in May, to anywhere that doesn't require quarantine. Everywhere needs a test though and I was worried about getting result back in time.
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  #25  
Old 02.03.2021, 12:36
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Re: Commuting between UK and Switzerland

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That's cool to know the result comes back so fast. I'm seriously thinking of going on holiday in May, to anywhere that doesn't require quarantine. Everywhere needs a test though and I was worried about getting result back in time.
The key with the airport is knowing when their lab runs are (which is then 5 hours to results) - if you get there early they do a 7am and 9am lab pickup so you should have results by 12:00 or 14:00 respectively.

To be honest the fast airport testing is the the only way it's still possible to commute now as most places rely on 24-48 hours for the results to get back into Switzerland and the logistics for that are a nightmare.

My work colleague (also a commuter) always travels back on Monday morning so he still prefers an antigen test in Zurich on Friday then a PCR test back in UK Saturday AM. They provide the results for him by Sunday lunchtime which he uses to commute back on Monday AM. It works out a similar price in the end as its around 45 for the antigen test here then 120 for the PCR so the total outlay is around the same as the fast Zurich airport test.

If the Swiss side changed to allow antigen tests like the UK do it would make the logistics a lot easier as you could get one antigen test on the Friday for both ends at 1/4 of the cost.


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Same here, I was planning to travel back the UK most weekends when I started my contract here. Now there are no direct flights from Zurich-Manchester at all, the only UK flight seems to be weekly Zurich-Heathrow and that is over a grand.
Not sure where you're getting a grand from unless you tried booking the day before I've paid generally no more than 130CHF return for all mine in the last few months and I've flown with Swiss Zurich/Heathrow every time. The exception was around Easter where some are 250 each way but I've avoided that by flying Wed-Sunday rather than Thursday to Monday which was 110CHF return with Swiss.

The exception in my case was around Xmas when they canned all UK flights and I had to fly instead to Paris for 160CHF one way then get a Eurostar back to the UK for the Xmas holidays period then flew back in Jan from Heathrow which was 90CHF one-way.

Last edited by Spaceghost; 02.03.2021 at 12:47.
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  #26  
Old 02.03.2021, 12:54
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Re: Commuting between UK and Switzerland

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That's cool to know the result comes back so fast. I'm seriously thinking of going on holiday in May, to anywhere that doesn't require quarantine. Everywhere needs a test though and I was worried about getting result back in time.

At Zurich airport they offer you a result for the PCR test 5 hours after the courier left. Have used it as well and had the test done in the morning, 17.01 the result came back.


https://checkport.info/covid-testcen...ghafen-zuerich


Courier leaves at 7 am, 9 am, 12 and 17.00
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Old 02.03.2021, 15:22
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Re: Commuting between UK and Switzerland

I think the biggest challenge after I've worked out all the rules, is not getting too stressed-out about the very many things happening right now over which I have no control whatsoever!
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Old 02.03.2021, 16:32
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Re: Commuting between UK and Switzerland

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I commute regularly between UK and Switzerland (generally weekly). The biggest pain now is the need for a PCR within 72 hours meaning:

1. PCR test at 6AM Friday morning at Zurich airport - get results by 12:00 on Friday lunch
2. Fly back Friday to UK Friday PM
3. Fly back Sunday PM which allows the same PCR test to be used for the return journey

Some points:

1. Regular weekly commuters are exempt from quarantine in both UK and Switzerland. This is covered here as 'Regular Commuters'

https://www.gov.uk/government/public...k-border-rules

In the Swiss side this is covered by:

https://www.bag.admin.ch/bag/en/home...html#103059051

Under 'People travelling on business for an important reason that cannot be postponed.'

I got this confirmed (at least in Zurich canton) from the local gdstab office for myself as I work in IT and I cannot connect remotely outside of the country (the infra has both IP and GPS checks to login). Myself and a colleague also confirmed separately this is still valid after the UK variant was announced and both of us had replies from different people at the same office confirmed as still being valid.

However if you're in the UK or similar high risk country for 5 days the commuting exemption is revoked and you have to quarantine when you return to Switzerland, so for example if you go back for a week (as I did recently) I'm back in quarantine in my apartment here until tomorrow.

I can also confirm that queues at border control at Heathrow have been grim some weeks - almost 2 hours last Friday for example.

The other pain has been flight cancellations. I'm only trusting Swiss now as have been let down multiple times by both Easyjet (who I used extensively pre-Covid) and BA cancelling flights for months on end at late notice, often meaning you then had to buy more expensive late notice flights. So I'd say stick with Swiss for at least the short term.

Biggest issue is the cost really at present - gone from 60-90 quid for a return Easyjet flight each week to a total of 250-300 per week for the Heathrow Swiss flight (80-100) plus the costs of the fast PCR test at the airport (195CHF).
In 1994 flying Zurich Heathrow Friday evening & returning Sunday evening cost between 500-700 CHF using BA or Swiss Air as it was called, the 250-300 almost 27 years later is still a huge bargain!
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  #29  
Old 02.03.2021, 16:53
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Re: Commuting between UK and Switzerland

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There seems to be a lot of panic in the UK over the travellers who entered the UK from Brazil via Zürich on LX318. Yet strangely not much hype about this on Swiss media? I would’ve thought one would be worried about the remaining plane load of passengers that arrived with them into Zürich...
Personally I think in this whole sorry affair, the group that will look worst are the UK media. At every turn they have pressured the government into more and more draconian measures. I think it will eventually be seen that a more relaxed approach would have been better for the people and the economy.

From my own point of view, I managed to travel back to the UK a few times in the summer, but had my plans for Christmas ruined by a panicked Matt Hancock appearing on TV saying some variant of the virus was out of control (it is normal for viruses to mutate and that is how they get weaker).

One question I have is, do you actually have to do a full 10 day quarantine in the uk? It would appear not if someone is travelling back and fourth every weekend. What happens on day 8 when you need to do another testPCR test in the UK?
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  #30  
Old 02.03.2021, 17:31
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Re: Commuting between UK and Switzerland

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One question I have is, do you actually have to do a full 10 day quarantine in the uk? It would appear not if someone is travelling back and fourth every weekend. What happens on day 8 when you need to do another testPCR test in the UK?

Normal travellers to England have to do the 10 days quarantine and are supposed to also book tests on day 2 and 8. They are checking this at Heathrow now and the cause of the bigger delays recently. For red listed countries this is in the hotels at cost to the traveller.

Weekly commuters are exempt from all quarantine under the rules so you only need a weekly PCR test and that's to get back in Switzerland not for entry to England:

https://www.gov.uk/government/public...ar-work-abroad

You only need an antigen test to get into England, which is why I said if the Swiss changed to match the UK it would be a whole lot easier and cheaper.

Officially regular commuters are actually exempt from testing as well as per the same link, but try proving that to a Swiss member of staff who wouldn't let you on the plane without the negative Covid test.

The other thing is that in the last couple of weeks Border Patrol in the UK are also asking for proof of your return flight back to Switzerland to prove you are indeed commuting just for the weekend.
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  #31  
Old 02.03.2021, 17:37
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Re: Commuting between UK and Switzerland

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As per previous posts weekly commuters are exempt from all quarantine under the rules so you only need a weekly PCR test and that's to get back in Switzerland not for entry the UK:

https://www.gov.uk/government/public...ar-work-abroad

You only need an antigen test to get into the UK not PCR.

Officially regular commuters are actually exempt from testing as well as per the same link but try proving that to a Swiss member of staff who wouldn't let you on the plane without the negative Covid test.
Thanks, unfortunately I am not a regular commuter and I am a Swiss resident (also I am currently between jobs, though hopefully I will be signings a new contract in the next few weeks). I just want to go back to the UK for about 5 or 6 days. Happy to spend the time in the UK in quarantine, but i just don't want to stay there for 10 days.
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  #32  
Old 02.03.2021, 17:41
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Re: Commuting between UK and Switzerland

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Normal travellers to England have to do the 10 days quarantine and are supposed to also book tests on day 2 and 8. They are checking this at Heathrow now and the cause of the bigger delays recently. For red listed countries this is in the hotels at cost to the traveller.
So does that mean if you travel to the UK and you are not a commuter you have to stay for at least 10 days?

Or maybe you could do 8 days? I only really want to see family, looks like I might not be seeing them for some time
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  #33  
Old 02.03.2021, 17:49
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Re: Commuting between UK and Switzerland

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Personally I think in this whole sorry affair, the group that will look worst are the UK media. At every turn they have pressured the government into more and more draconian measures. I think it will eventually be seen that a more relaxed approach would have been better for the people and the economy.

From my own point of view, I managed to travel back to the UK a few times in the summer, but had my plans for Christmas ruined by a panicked Matt Hancock appearing on TV saying some variant of the virus was out of control (it is normal for viruses to mutate and that is how they get weaker).

One question I have is, do you actually have to do a full 10 day quarantine in the uk? It would appear not if someone is travelling back and fourth every weekend. What happens on day 8 when you need to do another testPCR test in the UK?
Same here as well - still waiting on a refund on the flight from ZRH to LHR that got cancelled over Christmas because of the variant 🙄

Because Switzerland is not in the “red list” you wouldn’t have to do 10 days in the Uk - you could end your quarantine if you test negative on day 5 via “test to release”.
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  #34  
Old 02.03.2021, 17:59
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Re: Commuting between UK and Switzerland

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Thanks, unfortunately I am not a regular commuter and I am a Swiss resident (also I am currently between jobs, though hopefully I will be signings a new contract in the next few weeks). I just want to go back to the UK for about 5 or 6 days. Happy to spend the time in the UK in quarantine, but i just don't want to stay there for 10 days.

I'm not sure you have a choice which is why short term trips for non-commuters are a problem especially now they're specifically checking the day 2 and 8 further tests on arrival. There's some further test to release thing which might do it?

I'm sure it'll get better in a month or two - at least I bloody hope so as it's costing me a fortune. I have a young family though so I just have to battle on for now.

Ironically its the lack of them being able to come here to visit which is also preventing me doing the whole 'sell Switzerland' to them and try and get them over here permanently too. Covid sucks.
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Old 02.03.2021, 18:21
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Re: Commuting between UK and Switzerland

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I'm not sure you have a choice which is why short term trips for non-commuters are a problem especially now they're specifically checking the day 2 and 8 further tests on arrival. There's some further test to release thing which might do it?

I'm sure it'll get better in a month or two - at least I bloody hope so as it's costing me a fortune. I have a young family though so I just have to battle on for now.

Ironically its the lack of them being able to come here to visit which is also preventing me doing the whole 'sell Switzerland' to them and try and get them over here permanently too. Covid sucks.
It looks like I might be able to "release" after 5 days, so maybe I will use that (need to do a little more research).

I have been living in Switzerland since 2011, travelling back maybe every 3 or 4 weeks. I would actually say anecdotally the number of British weekly commuters has reduced since then. When I travelled back on a Friday afternoon in 2011 or 2012, it was common to see 3 or 4 work colleagues getting on the plane, now (or in the last few years) I hardly see any regular travellers that I know. I imagine Corona will further reduce British weekly commuters. Therefore I would say it would be great if you could sell Switzerland to your family (not always as easy as it would seem!)
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Old 02.03.2021, 18:28
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Re: Commuting between UK and Switzerland

I heard of someone going back for only a couple days and getting an exemption to the UK test bookings. In any case I believe you can still cut your self-isolation short whenever you like to leave the country.
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Old 02.03.2021, 18:31
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Re: Commuting between UK and Switzerland

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It looks like I might be able to "release" after 5 days, so maybe I will use that (need to do a little more research).

I have been living in Switzerland since 2011, travelling back maybe every 3 or 4 weeks. I would actually say anecdotally the number of British weekly commuters has reduced since then. When I travelled back on a Friday afternoon in 2011 or 2012, it was common to see 3 or 4 work colleagues getting on the plane, now (or in the last few years) I hardly see any regular travellers that I know. I imagine Corona will further reduce British weekly commuters. Therefore I would say it would be great if you could sell Switzerland to your family (not always as easy as it would seem!)

Yeah pre-Covid I would see at least 4 or 5 regulars on my planes to/from Luton. I've actually bumped into a couple of them since on the Heathrow flights but not very often.
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Old 02.03.2021, 18:34
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Re: Commuting between UK and Switzerland

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I heard of someone going back for only a couple days and getting an exemption to the UK test bookings. In any case I believe you can still cut your self-isolation short whenever you like to leave the country.
Are visits < 10 days allowed into Switzerland provided one adheres fully to quarantine? Technically one would therefore be leaving to go to the airport during quarantine. No mention on the govt website on whether this is possible, I'm assuming it is as surely they can't stop non-citizens from leaving the country?
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Old 03.03.2021, 00:28
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Re: Commuting between UK and Switzerland

I've been back a few times - last trip was a couple weeks ago just before the new 'two test' requirement came into force.

I live in Basel, seeing family in Kent so I took the decision to drive and go Eurotunnel. This actually makes the journey to the UK safer than popping to the supermarket as there's minimal human contact (apart from the gnarly gendarmes nabbing me for speeding) and you are obliged to sit in your car in the tunnel.

I've always stayed in rented places in UK for the quarantine and was taking the '5 day test to get out early option'. However, it's been mentally tough with isolation quarantine at both ends and the testing hasn't been a barrel of laughs either.

With the new 'two test' regs I'm not planning to go back until these are relaxed so I can't offer advice on what that is like, but the driving option might be worth considering depending on where you're heading.
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Old 03.03.2021, 01:21
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Re: Commuting between UK and Switzerland

Frankly I despair that international travel to the UK will ever get back to normal this year, even
with the vaccination program roll out going well; when you consider the epidemiotologists
that hold sway over the British government Covid briefings having a fit and almost going into hysterics;
whenever a new variant or mutation of the virus shows up in the UK, with politicians responding
with another & another 'batten down the hatches' mentality.

BBC News - Brazil variant: Search for mystery case narrows down to 379 households
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