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Old 18.11.2012, 20:44
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Flying/Traveling from U.S. to Geneva

Hi,

I'm new to the forum, new to traveling, and new to Switzerland in general. I have an internship in Switzerland this summer, so I'm just doing some precursory research about traveling/flying abroad.

I was wondering if anyone had experiences flying from the US to Geneva? Particularly, I am nervous about layovers outside of the US. I vaguely remembering hearing that layovers in Europe weren't the same as if I were flying domestically in the US. For example, if I were to have a layover in London or Paris, would it be as simple as getting off at one gate and then walking over to a different gate to get onto the connecting flight?

My destination is Lausanne, so I have a second question about getting from Geneva to Lausanne. In the US, I would look for a taxi driver to take me from the airport to where ever I need to go. Do taxis lineup outside of the airport in Geneva as well, or is there a more common way to get out of Geneva upon arrival from the airport? And, if taxis are common and Geneva being a bit of an international city of politics, could I expect the taxi driver to know French and English, or would they likely only know French?

Thank you for any and all help!
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Old 18.11.2012, 20:49
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Re: Flying/Traveling from U.S. to Geneva

Layovers are the same. Just follow the signs. As for going from Geneva to Lausanne, dont go by taxi. Get the train.

Search on the forum and there is loads of info
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Old 18.11.2012, 20:55
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Re: Flying/Traveling from U.S. to Geneva

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Layovers are the same. Just follow the signs. As for going from Geneva to Lausanne, dont go by taxi. Get the train.

Search on the forum and there is loads of info
Well not quite the same...if you are flying in to Europe from the US you will need to go through passport control at your port of entry in the EU. If your layover is outside Europe (although given your routing that is unlikely) you will not need to until you arrive in Switzerland.
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Old 18.11.2012, 20:59
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Re: Flying/Traveling from U.S. to Geneva

Geneva Airport:

http://www.gva.ch/en/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-418/

http://www.gva.ch/en/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-67/

Taxis are quite expensive and normally taking the train from Geneva Airport to Lausanne main station is the affordable solution.
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Old 18.11.2012, 21:19
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Re: Flying/Traveling from U.S. to Geneva

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Well not quite the same...if you are flying in to Europe from the US you will need to go through passport control at your port of entry in the EU. If your layover is outside Europe (although given your routing that is unlikely) you will not need to until you arrive in Switzerland.
I was talking about layovers from Europe to Europe. But i guess the OP may need that later
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Old 18.11.2012, 21:22
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Re: Flying/Traveling from U.S. to Geneva

Fly through Zurich if you can. It's really very easy to figure out and it's not so big as to be intimidating. You won't need to pick up your bags until you get to Geneva unlike in the US.

Lausanne is almost and hour from Geneva. You don't want to take a taxi. I can't even imagine how much that will cost. Take the train. The train station it just outside the airport.
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Old 18.11.2012, 21:30
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Re: Flying/Traveling from U.S. to Geneva

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Fly through Zurich if you can. It's really very easy to figure out and it's not so big as to be intimidating. You won't need to pick up your bags until you get to Geneva unlike in the US.

Lausanne is almost and hour from Geneva. You don't want to take a taxi. I can't even imagine how much that will cost. Take the train. The train station it just outside the airport.

Why via Zurich ? As we don't know where he's comming from difficult to be so sure. There are plenty of NY-Geneva flights....direct no stop-over.

PS Taxi Geneva to Lausanne is about Chf 350.-
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Old 18.11.2012, 21:43
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Re: Flying/Traveling from U.S. to Geneva

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Why via Zurich ? As we don't know where he's comming from difficult to be so sure. There are plenty of NY-Geneva flights....direct no stop-over.

PS Taxi Geneva to Lausanne is about Chf 350.-
I was assuming he couldn't get a direct flight otherwise his question would be mute (muet? mout? meut?)..... pointless (). I know it's not the easiest to get a direct flight from some place. I've never taken a direct flight to and from Boston, for example.

But I mention Zurich because of his concern for changing in a foreign airport. Many of them are quite big and may involve complicated terminal changes. I find Zurich super easy to manage as it's not as big as say Heathrow or Frankfurt, or Madrid () That's all.
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Old 18.11.2012, 21:47
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Re: Flying/Traveling from U.S. to Geneva

Strange isn't it, me living in Zürich suggesting arriving in Geneva, and you in Romandie suggesting the other way

Personally I find Geneva Airport to be a breeze especially with the free public transport ticket.


Train fares GVA to Lausanne are also much cheaper and is also a much shorter train ride.
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Old 18.11.2012, 21:47
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Re: Flying/Traveling from U.S. to Geneva

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I was assuming he couldn't get a direct flight otherwise his question would be mute (muet? mout? meut?)..... pointless (). I know it's not the easiest to get a direct flight from some place. I've never taken a direct flight to and from Boston, for example.

But I mention Zurich because of his concern for changing in a foreign airport. Many of them are quite big and may involve complicated terminal changes. I find Zurich super easy to manage as it's not as big as say Heathrow or Frankfurt, or Madrid () That's all.

Exactly !He seems worried about a stop over, maybe sometnig to do with over zealous customs offices in Zurich....so if he has to change, maybe best he changes in the States and NY is very convenient as it is one of the only direct US-Geneva flights (thanks to UN mainly !)
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Old 18.11.2012, 22:04
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Re: Flying/Traveling from U.S. to Geneva

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Exactly !He seems worried about a stop over, maybe sometnig to do with over zealous customs offices in Zurich....so if he has to change, maybe best he changes in the States and NY is very convenient as it is one of the only direct US-Geneva flights (thanks to UN mainly !)
Sure. Changing in the US would be the best option if he is worried about changing in Europe. Personally, I've only ever had a problem in with customs/immigration in Frankfurt. Bastards! I should have sued them!
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Old 18.11.2012, 22:06
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Re: Flying/Traveling from U.S. to Geneva

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Why via Zurich ? As we don't know where he's comming from difficult to be so sure. There are plenty of NY-Geneva flights....direct no stop-over.

PS Taxi Geneva to Lausanne is about Chf 350.-
Yes, but if he is on a budget more often that not the cheapest flights are not direct.
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Old 18.11.2012, 22:12
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Re: Flying/Traveling from U.S. to Geneva

Layovers are no issue -- your baggage will be routed through to your final destination airport (Geneva), so you don't have to worry about that, and you will be herded toward your transfer gate in whichever airport you have to change.

As everyone else has said, forget about taxis. And you'll find that most people in Suisse Romande will speak some English, and most will be more prepared to attempt English than German.

I'm guessing you're headed for Lausanne to start at IMD (I could be way off, of course), in which case you should get used to international travel, as you will shortly become a fully-fledged captain of industry with an increasing need for globetrotting. Really, it's not rocket science and you will come across far more taxing problems in Switzerland, such as finding a place to live (although again, if you're coming for IMD, that's sorted altready) or how to survive when the shops are closed at all and any convenient hours.

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I was assuming he couldn't get a direct flight otherwise his question would be mute (muet? mout? meut?)..... pointless ().
Moot.
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Old 18.11.2012, 22:17
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Re: Flying/Traveling from U.S. to Geneva

Oh, and OP, in case you are landing in the other airport called Basel Mulhouse Freiburg, there are no trains but expensive taxis and the bus to Basel SBB train station

From Basel SBB, there are trains to Lausanne station.
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Old 18.11.2012, 22:19
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Re: Flying/Traveling from U.S. to Geneva

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Hi,

I'm new to the forum, new to traveling, and new to Switzerland in general. I have an internship in Switzerland this summer, so I'm just doing some precursory research about traveling/flying abroad.

I was wondering if anyone had experiences flying from the US to Geneva? Particularly, I am nervous about layovers outside of the US. I vaguely remembering hearing that layovers in Europe weren't the same as if I were flying domestically in the US. For example, if I were to have a layover in London or Paris, would it be as simple as getting off at one gate and then walking over to a different gate to get onto the connecting flight?

My destination is Lausanne, so I have a second question about getting from Geneva to Lausanne. In the US, I would look for a taxi driver to take me from the airport to where ever I need to go. Do taxis lineup outside of the airport in Geneva as well, or is there a more common way to get out of Geneva upon arrival from the airport? And, if taxis are common and Geneva being a bit of an international city of politics, could I expect the taxi driver to know French and English, or would they likely only know French?

Thank you for any and all help!
First, congratulations on landing an internship. If you are nervous about a layover in Frankfurt or Munich or Zurich or wherever, just do your layover in the US. There are direct flights from Newark and Dulles every day.

I know the taxi rate from the airport to Morges is 175 francs and Lausanne is a bit further, so figure around 225 francs, which is ridiculous, so just take the train.

The Geneva train station is located directly adjacent to the airport. When you leave baggage claim, turn left and follow the signs with the little picture on them of a train. You are in luck here because the word in French for train is, uh, train. There are ticket kiosks located in the train station lobby but they are in French. If you are not comfortable with that, look for the ticket booth that has an actual person in it just on the far side of the room and buy your ticket there. (That person will speak English).

When you arrive at Lausanne Gare, there are two taxi lines just outside the main doors. The taxi driver will probably not speak English, so just write down your address on a piece of paper and show it to him.

If you tell me what your destination is in Lausanne, I can tell you how to get there by public transport and you can forego the taxi altogether. Good luck and don't forget to bring your skis!
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Old 18.11.2012, 22:30
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Re: Flying/Traveling from U.S. to Geneva

Wow, so many responses so quickly! This forum is really active! Thank you for all the help so far.

To clear up my situation: I live in New York State, and will probably be flying from either Rochester, NY, Buffalo, NY, or possibly Syracuse, NY. The internship is with a company called Typesafe (which is a startup near EPFL); they are paying for flight costs, but I think I will still have to abide by a modest budget, so I'm not sure I have a lot of leeway in the exact route/airline I would be taking.

I will take all of your advice and take a train from Geneva to Lausanne. I then imagine once I am in Lausanne I could find a bus or find a taxi for much more modest price to get to where ever I will be staying.

I'm not sure if I could get a flight through Zurich. Zurich would be even further out of the way than Geneva, so I'm not sure if that'd make sense. I might be able to find a flight from Rochester -> JFK -> Geneva, however... I'll have to find out!

If I do have a layover in a European country that isn't Switzerland, I will have to go through passport control? What exactly does that entail? Do they explicitly "herd" us toward where ever that is? My fear is that I will be in a non-English speaking airport (I am learning French in preparation, but who knows how much of it I will be able to rely on by then), and not be able to figure out where/what I need go/do during my layover.

Thanks again for everyone's help! You all are awesome
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Old 18.11.2012, 22:32
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Re: Flying/Traveling from U.S. to Geneva

Well, I have found transiting in Europe to be more straight forward and a lot more consistantly helpful personel, than I have found in the USA.
MOst people are nervous ( unless blissfuly, overconfidently ignorant:')) before embarking on their first big flight.

Really, don't worry about your connections. Just get a flight that is within your budget. ONce you arrive at the transit airport, you will figure it all out. I really ike flights through AMsterdam - extremely helpful airport staff and a lovely airport.

I find Paris airports rather bland and not that user friendly.

THe thing to watch though, is that you are flying in and out of the same airport. As with the USA, it's possible to fly into one airport, then find you have to travel over an hour to get to the one you are leaving from.

DO allow more than the minimum time for this transit. Nothing wrong with adding in an extra hour or two of "figuring it out, taking it all in" time.

IF you fly into Zurich or Geneva, you can get a train from the airport to Lusanne. If you fly into Basel/Bale/MUlhouse/Freiburg, you take bus 50 from outside the arrivals, to the train station, then get the direct train to Lusanne.
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Old 18.11.2012, 22:34
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Re: Flying/Traveling from U.S. to Geneva

Ah, thank you for the wonderful explanation for tackling the Geneva -> Lausanne travel! This makes it very clear what I should do (and answers part of my previous post, which I started writing before you made this post) .

I don't know where I'm staying yet, so I don't have an address I can tell you yet. Once I know though, I will be sure to ask though; thanks!
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First, congratulations on landing an internship. If you are nervous about a layover in Frankfurt or Munich or Zurich or wherever, just do your layover in the US. There are direct flights from Newark and Dulles every day.

I know the taxi rate from the airport to Morges is 175 francs and Lausanne is a bit further, so figure around 225 francs, which is ridiculous, so just take the train.

The Geneva train station is located directly adjacent to the airport. When you leave baggage claim, turn left and follow the signs with the little picture on them of a train. You are in luck here because the word in French for train is, uh, train. There are ticket kiosks located in the train station lobby but they are in French. If you are not comfortable with that, look for the ticket booth that has an actual person in it just on the far side of the room and buy your ticket there. (That person will speak English).

When you arrive at Lausanne Gare, there are two taxi lines just outside the main doors. The taxi driver will probably not speak English, so just write down your address on a piece of paper and show it to him.

If you tell me what your destination is in Lausanne, I can tell you how to get there by public transport and you can forego the taxi altogether. Good luck and don't forget to bring your skis!
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Old 18.11.2012, 22:49
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Re: Flying/Traveling from U.S. to Geneva

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I'm not sure if I could get a flight through Zurich. Zurich would be even further out of the way than Geneva, so I'm not sure if that'd make sense. I might be able to find a flight from Rochester -> JFK -> Geneva, however... I'll have to find out!
Yes. Since you are most likely flying out of New York/Newark you'll most likely go direct to Geneva. Lucky you!

But don't worry so much about the connection in Europe. If you have to connect in Europe it will be in a big airport which will have all the signs in English and almost any airline employee will speak English or point to someone not far who does.

I agree with Biff. Take a connection that gives you enough time orienting yourself for your transfer. Don't cut it too close that you have to run to get your connection.
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Old 18.11.2012, 22:57
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Re: Flying/Traveling from U.S. to Geneva

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Ah, thank you for the wonderful explanation for tackling the Geneva -> Lausanne travel! This makes it very clear what I should do (and answers part of my previous post, which I started writing before you made this post) .

I don't know where I'm staying yet, so I don't have an address I can tell you yet. Once I know though, I will be sure to ask though; thanks!
Flying from New York, I would definitely take the direct flight out of Newark. Easy Peasy. Really, you need to stop stressing. The Geneva airport is about as big as, I dunno, White Plains or Scarborough. There's no possible way you can get lost. It's literally one long hallway. If you come to the end of the hallway that has a restaurant called the Montreux Jazz Cafe, you went the wrong way. Go to the other end of the hallway and you will see the train station lobby.

Look for the sign that says "RailCity" and that is the ticket booth with the actual person in it. Mind you, the trains are one floor below this so you have to go down an escalator to your track. The trains to Lausanne run about every 15-20 minutes.
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