Search 59,165 Camino Questions

A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it


Advertisement
Camino Socks
Browse the Camino Socks collection on the forum shop
how to successfully prepare for your Camino
This book's focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared.

What Would You Do? Transiting Zurich

jsalt

Jill
Past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
Having sorted out a “Covid Pass” (I hope) on another thread (thank you!), I need your help again.

What would you do in the following scenario?

I have a return flight booked from South Africa to Bilbao on 19 January. Outbound it’s on Lufthansa via Frankfurt, and inbound it’s on Swiss Air via Zurich.

Swiss Air have now cancelled the Bilbao to Zurich leg. I can cancel the whole thing for a full refund, or I can accept the change, and they will refund me the Bilbao to Zurich leg once the trip has been completed.

Let’s say I accept the change. At the end of my camino I would have to buy another flight from somewhere in Spain to Zurich, in time to catch my long haul flight home.

You can see what’s coming, can’t you?

If this additional flight is delayed, and I miss my long haul flight, I am going to have to buy another ticket to get home (very expensive), as the delayed flight is not part of the original ticket.

So what I am thinking of, is to buy a ticket for the day BEFORE my long haul flight (it leaves in the evening), and I stay in the Zurich transit area for over 24 hours. I should be sure then of getting the final flight if I am delayed en-route to Zurich. But can I do that – stay in transit for over 24 hours? It seems better to me, with all the covid rules and regulations, to stay in transit, rather than leave the airport.

What would you do?
 
Fine art photography from the Camino Ways.
Learn how to Get "Camino Ready " 2nd Edition. In English, Spanish, German and Korean

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Gheesh, this is complicated. I know that it’s probably not helpful to suggest that people from South Africa find a direct flight into Spain. I’m assuming you can’t go straight into Madrid or Barcelona? That would be hands down my preferred option.

I am not at all an expert on this, but I did some googling and it looks to me like there is actually an “in transit” hotel (i.e., so you don’t have to leave the secure area).

This website, which seems up to date and cognizant of covid issues, provides details on both sleeping in the airport and going to the transit hotel. What is unclear is how they deal with those with a layover of more than 24 hours.


Good luck with this, Jill. Keep us posted on what you find out. Buen camino, Laurie
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Rather than accept the change and find your own way to Zurich have you looked on the airline's website for other options to get back home.
These changes are made automatically via computer, and doing a little research then calling the airline can get you on a flight that works for you.
 

roving_rufus

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2013-2015) Portugues (2017-2019) Via Francigena (2018-??) Camino from Ireland (2020-??)
Useful website that gives info about airports and their facilities

My only comment in regards to flight changes is make sure that you definitely are booked for Zurich-South Africa leg, that the cancellation (which could be counted as a no show if improperly processed) doesn't cause any weird automatic cancellation of Zurich to South Africa leg.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Rather than accept the change and find your own way to Zurich have you looked on the airline's website for other options to get back home.
These changes are made automatically via computer, and doing a little research then calling the airline can get you on a flight that works for you.
I totally agree with @trecile. If the airline has cancelled one leg of the flight, I would be very hesitant to keep the schedule as is and find my own way to Zurich (even though I just posted on how you might do that :rolleyes:). I think the airlines should be able to find you an alternative that preserves the original starting and ending points, and if not, I would see what full RT options they would offer you. (This sounds like what @Albertagirl went through last year when trying to get to Valencia, and she was able to get the original flight totally re-routed). Being well-informed about flight alternatives (such as into Madrid and Madrid-Bilbao, etc.) can give you a strong basis for negotiating with the airlines. Good luck!
 
Original artwork based on your pilgrimage or other travel photos.
John Brierley 2022 Camino Guide
The most selling Camino Guide is shipping November 1st. Get your today and start planning.

jsalt

Jill
Past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
people from South Africa find a direct flight into Spain

Iberia used to fly direct Johannesburg / Madrid, but they abandoned us a few years ago for better pickings in the American market :(.
 

jsalt

Jill
Past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés

Kathar1na

Member
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Swiss Air have now cancelled the Bilbao to Zurich leg. I can cancel the whole thing for a full refund, or I can accept the change, and they will refund me the Bilbao to Zurich leg once the trip has been completed.
To me as, as not so frequent flyer, this sounds rather odd: that they will refund the Bilbao to Zurich leg once the trip has been completed. Regardless, I agree with @trecile and others: Ask them to find other acceptable options for you, for example Madrid or Barcelona to Zurich if that is convenient for you.

Apart from this, I would not hesitate, in principle, to book a flight from Spain to Zurich and a separate flight from Zurich to South Africa. At this point in time, I would not worry too much about entry or transit restrictions (would this be in February 2022 or later?). This is what I would do: I'd book a hotel either in Zurich airport or immediately next to it. Then I would use the booking data for my flight and my accommodation (you need to upload copies) to get a Swiss national Covid Certificate as someone who is vaccinated and just visiting Switzerland ("neither a Swiss domicile nor a Swiss passport"), see application form here. See also the Frequently Asked Questions. It will cost CHF 30 but it's the full monty, the real thing. 😎
 
Last edited:

jsalt

Jill
Past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
To me as, as not so frequent flyer, this sounds rather odd: that they will refund the Bilbao to Zurich leg once the trip has been completed.
Their email:

1. If you would like to proceed with the proposed new itinerary, please use this option and accept the revised booking. (If we can only offer part of your originally planned trip and you still wish to travel, you are eligible for a partial refund after your trip has been completed.)
2. If the proposed new itinerary is not satisfactory and you prefer to postpone your travel to a later date, please use this option. Your reservation will be cancelled, but your ticket and booking code will remain valid to book new flights, based on our flexible rebooking policy. Please contact our Service Center to arrange your new itinerary.
3. You are entitled to a refund. you can submit your refund using this option. All remaining flights will be cancelled.

By the way, when I phone their "Service Centre" I am put on hold for ages and ages . . . until I give up, because my monthly cellphone account limit is about to run out and I'll be cut off anyway.
 
Camino Magnets
A collection of Camino Fridge Magnets
how to successfully prepare for your Camino
This book's focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared.

Kathar1na

Member
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
My flight is next week, 19 January 😃
I noticed it after you had read my post, and I have already corrected my comment.

I haven't changed my mind, though ☺️. I guess your return flight via Zurich is in February or later? I wouldn't worry too much about Covid-19 related requirements for a flight from Spain to Switzerland. Do read the Frequently Asked Questions on that website. Isn't that tempting? Various thoughts are going through my mind, like the thought that I have booked hotel rooms on booking.com and had to cancel them later and it didn't cost anything ... OK, I'll stop here as it doesn't solve your dilemma about which combination of flights to pick for the return flight.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Past OR future Camino
Many and many more.
Having sorted out a “Covid Pass” (I hope) on another thread (thank you!), I need your help again.

What would you do in the following scenario?

I have a return flight booked from South Africa to Bilbao on 19 January. Outbound it’s on Lufthansa via Frankfurt, and inbound it’s on Swiss Air via Zurich.

Swiss Air have now cancelled the Bilbao to Zurich leg. I can cancel the whole thing for a full refund, or I can accept the change, and they will refund me the Bilbao to Zurich leg once the trip has been completed.

Let’s say I accept the change. At the end of my camino I would have to buy another flight from somewhere in Spain to Zurich, in time to catch my long haul flight home.

You can see what’s coming, can’t you?

If this additional flight is delayed, and I miss my long haul flight, I am going to have to buy another ticket to get home (very expensive), as the delayed flight is not part of the original ticket.

So what I am thinking of, is to buy a ticket for the day BEFORE my long haul flight (it leaves in the evening), and I stay in the Zurich transit area for over 24 hours. I should be sure then of getting the final flight if I am delayed en-route to Zurich. But can I do that – stay in transit for over 24 hours? It seems better to me, with all the covid rules and regulations, to stay in transit, rather than leave the airport.

What would you do?
If I ever need a connecting flight to get to a long haul which is not on the same ticket, I travel the day before - or at least such that there is at least one ‘spare’ short-haul slot before my long haul.

I am retired. I have the time and a layover in another city isn’t a problem.

I used to regularly fly UK Europe on business and it was far from unusual for a one-hour flight to depart an hour late, or for the immigration queue (pre Brexit ) to take longer than the flight
 

jsalt

Jill
Past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
It may actually be better to cancel, get a full refund, and start again.
Quoting myself. I have just checked what it would NOW cost me for a return flight to Spain, in January/February, and it is A LOT more than if I kept the original ticket, and paid extra for an overnight in an hotel at Zurich airport . . . hmmm . . .
 

Kathar1na

Member
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
@jsalt, I had a look at Skyscanner and at Bilbao airport and it looked like there are no direct flights between Bilbao and Zurich by any airline during February. Could this be true? If so, you would have to rearrange flights anyway ...
 
Camino Way Markers
Original Camino Way markers made in bronze. Two models, one from Castilla & Leon and the other from Galicia.
A thought-provoking Camino memoir. This day-by-day account will inspire you.

jsalt

Jill
Past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
@jsalt, I had a look at Skyscanner and at Bilbao airport and it looked like there are no direct flights between Bilbao and Zurich by any airline during February. Could this be true? If so, you would have to rearrange flights anyway ...
Yes. Instead of getting from Santiago back to Bilbao, I would now have to get from Santiago to Zurich . . .
 

Stephan the Painter

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2022
Yes. Instead of getting from Santiago back to Bilbao, I would now have to get from Santiago to Zurich . . .
I think if you book a flight to replace the one they canceled, it’s too big a risk that that flight might get canceled in the future. I think if you don't just re-book the entire itinerary so that no matter what happens they have to get you home, you have to allow enough time to take land transportation. Just in case. What a conundrum!
 

jsalt

Jill
Past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
I think if you book a flight to replace the one they canceled, it’s too big a risk that that flight might get canceled in the future.
Unless I book that flight when I am a few days away from Santiago . . . . i.e. a few days before I want to fly to Zurich . . . ?
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
@jsalt Can you use your wifi to call without using cellular minutes?
In 2019 I discovered that my Porto to Toronto flight had been changed to a Frankfort to Toronto flight. I phoned and my flight was easily changed. Of course that was pre-Covid...
 

Stephan the Painter

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2022
Unless I book that flight when I am a few days away from Santiago . . . . i.e. a few days before I want to fly to Zurich . . . ?
Of course, that would almost certainly be OK. just likely more expensive. And you could always do land transportation if for some reason you can’t book a flight.

But, on further reflection, I guess if you book another flight to get back from santiago to Zürich, if they canceled it they would give you your money back anyway (But not if it was delayed, so your right about the hotel). And then you could just try to book another flight or take land transportation. But I can’t imagine a hotel room at the Zürich airport would be any less than a couple hundred euros?
But I think you know all this anyway……
 
Donation to the Forum
A donation to this forum helps it continue to exists and also removes all ads for you.
Create your own ad
€1,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Quoting myself. I have just checked what it would NOW cost me for a return flight to Spain, in January/February, and it is A LOT more than if I kept the original ticket, and paid extra for an overnight in an hotel at Zurich airport . . . hmmm . . .
This may be a case of too many cooks messing up the soup, but I think that you should lean on the airlines to rebook your complete RT. Buying a new one now is, as you say, going to be very expensive. I would take that option off the table. Surely there is a way to get from Bilbao to home leaving on the day you will be traveling. Get on skyskanner and see if you can find a reasonable route. With times and flight numbers, I would tell the customer service agent that that is what you would like to do. They are not likely to rebook you on another airline, unless you have very high status with the airline, but I think if you found a Bilbao - Amsterdam - home or Bilbao - London - whatever or something like that, they would rebook you. As you say, your risk in buying another flight to Zurich is that you could be delayed and miss your international flight — which brings us back to sleeping in the Zurich airport. :p

Good luck, amiga.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Past OR future Camino
Many and many more.
This close to a multi-leg personally-funded long-haul I’d go for certainty and, in this case, that means greatest certainty at least incremental cost; especially as you’ve got a relatively low cost flight back from Zurich which it would be unwise to risk.

To cut your walk short by a day and get to, and overnight in, Zurich would seem - to me - to be the best option.

The last time any airline even pretended to treat me with any consideration was 10+ years ago when I was flying weekly on flexible fares which my employers were paying for. (and which rapidly became an unremittingly horrible way of earning a living) Since I’ve been sitting in the back with the pigs and chickens, they really don’t give a damn.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Jill, are you planning to walk alone or are any of your walking group back home going to join you this time?
This reminds me of all my cancellation issues for family when my 2020 Norte got cancelled.🙄
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
To cut your walk short by a day and get to, and overnight in, Zurich would seem - to me - to be the best option.
Maybe… but with a bit of creativity, Jill may be able to get a different RT. Look at what happened to @Albertagirl

I am flying to Valencia through London in September, then flying home from Madrid through Frankfurt in November. I did not choose these flights originally, but when my airline cancelled my original flights from Calgary through Montreal to Barcelona and home from Barcelona through Toronto to Calgary, I made what changes I could to simplify my time in Spain.

This tells me that it might be worthwhile for Jill to do some searching and find a better return trip home. That could be either from Bilbao, or from an easier airport to get to in Spain, i.e., Madrid or Barcelona. That might be much easier than getting to Zurich. My only point is that being armed with a solution to propose to the airlines in their response to their notice that they have cancelled your flight is better than just calling up and asking what they suggest.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Past OR future Camino
Many and many more.
Maybe… but with a bit of creativity, Jill may be able to get a different RT. Look at what happened to @Albertagirl

I am flying to Valencia through London in September, then flying home from Madrid through Frankfurt in November. I did not choose these flights originally, but when my airline cancelled my original flights from Calgary through Montreal to Barcelona and home from Barcelona through Toronto to Calgary, I made what changes I could to simplify my time in Spain.

This tells me that it might be worthwhile for Jill to do some searching and find a better return trip home. That could be either from Bilbao, or from an easier airport to get to in Spain, i.e., Madrid or Barcelona. That might be much easier than getting to Zurich. My only point is that being armed with a solution to propose to the airlines in their response to their notice that they have cancelled your flight is better than just calling up and asking what they suggest.
I know and that’s a great next step - but if that doesn’t get results pdq- from my personal pov what I would want now would be certainty. I’m fortunate and, within reason, I can throw money at a problem until it gets bored and goes away; but still; I’d want to close this down and get on with anticipating the trip.
 
Original artwork based on your pilgrimage or other travel photos.
Camino Magnets
A collection of Camino Fridge Magnets

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
This may be a case of too many cooks messing up the soup, but I think that you should lean on the airlines to rebook your complete RT.
The airline sold her a round trip ticket, South Africa to Spain, and it's their responsibility to make it right. Do you have to fly into Bilbao? There are probably many more flights to Madrid, so maybe that would work as well.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Unless I book that flight when I am a few days away from Santiago . . . . i.e. a few days before I want to fly to Zurich . . . ?
If you book it a few days before it could be very expensive? I wouldn’t cancel the flight, but perhaps ask to speak to a supervisor and explain your circumstances. They are the one’s canceling the flight. It shouldn’t cost you more to make a decent connection.
 
Past OR future Camino
Next up 2022?
Jill, maybe think outside the box.
Keep your booking and take the train to Zurich instead of trying to fly.

Bilbao-Irun/Hendaye-Bayonne-Paris would be easy.
Between Paris and Zurich there is a fast train, I think it takes ~3hours.

(Swiss used to have a direct Santiago Zurich flight but I assume not now.)
 
Camino Way Markers
Original Camino Way markers made in bronze. Two models, one from Castilla & Leon and the other from Galicia.
Camino Magnets
A collection of Camino Fridge Magnets

jsalt

Jill
Past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
Be very careful here. Normally, if you decide to skip a flight leg on a single ticket, the airline will assume a no-show and cancel the subsequent legs. Don't assume anything!

This is actually my biggest worry, as @roving_rufus also pointed out. I can see me trying to check in for my fourth leg home at Zurich airport, and be told that I'm not on it because I didn't take the third leg, even though THEY cancelled it. I don't need the stress!

It is certain that I must either get them to reissue the ticket, by putting in another flight to replace the Bilbao to Zurich leg, or I cancel the ticket and get a full refund.

I have until 16 January to decide, so will mull it over some more. Thank you for all your replies!
 
Donation to the Forum
A donation to this forum helps it continue to exists and also removes all ads for you.
how to successfully prepare for your Camino
This book's focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared.

Chef66

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Now
The airline sold her a round trip ticket, South Africa to Spain, and it's their responsibility to make it right. Do you have to fly into Bilbao? There are probably many more flights to Madrid, so maybe that would work as well.
To me this is the best advice but you will have to reach call centre to do so. Imperative that sectors 3 and 4 are on the same booking ref and e-ticket. Airline systems are generally incapable of offering other sectors that may make sense to you - so perfect world that would have offered you BCN or MAD but everything is so automated it doesn’t work like that. Alsa or RENFE can get you to Madrid! To clarify it is a direct booking with airline, not via agent? If airline, which one?

Also the BIO to ZRH leg maybe worth virtually nothing anyway, the way airline fares are constructed, certainly a lot less than a one way single sector!

Other question to ask is will they ‘hub’ you over a different airport. Ie London or Paris so BIO to PAR to JNB. Possibly a long shot but ask anyway.
 
Last edited:

anamcara

Camino Walker
Past OR future Camino
2022 Chemin du Piémont Pyrénéen; Camino Baztan 😎
Oh Jill. I’m not going to add any comments or suggestions as no doubt they’ve all been covered above.

I just wanted to say ‘I feel your pain’ and I hope (trust) all will work out. 🙏 Bon courage and 🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Unless I book that flight when I am a few days away from Santiago . . . . i.e. a few days before I want to fly to Zurich . . . ?
If you book it a few days before it could be very Expensive? I wouldn’t cancel the flight, but perhaps askto speak to a supervisor and explain your circumstances. They are the one’s canceling the flight. It shouldn’t cost you more to make a dece connection.
If you book it a few days before it could be very expensive? I wouldn’t cancel the flight, but perhaps ask to speak to a supervisor and explain your circumstances. They are the one’s canceling the flight. It shouldn’t cost you more to make a decent connection.
I am reposting this…because truly many airlines representatives do not have authority to make some changes….if you get on the phone with a representative from the airline ( assuming you made the booking directly with it) and they can’t do anything for you, have alternatives in mind as others have suggested. I doubt the first representative can do it, but a supervisor can….do not get off the phone without speaking to a supervisor.

Surely, Swiss or lufthansa, flies to Zurich via Madrd ask them to reroute you from there. Take train from SdC to MAD.
 

Chef66

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Now
If you book it a few days before it could be very Expensive? I wouldn’t cancel the flight, but perhaps askto speak to a supervisor and explain your circumstances. They are the one’s canceling the flight. It shouldn’t cost you more to make a dece connection.

I am reposting this…because truly many airlines representatives do not have authority to make some changes….if you get on the phone with a representative from the airline ( assuming you made the booking directly with it) and they can’t do anything for you, have alternatives in mind as others have suggested. I doubt the first representative can do it, but a supervisor can….do not get off the phone without speaking to a supervisor.

Surely, Swiss or lufthansa, flies to Zurich via Madrd ask them to reroute you from there. Take train from SdC to MAD.
Without wishing you to inundate you. Porto to JNB via Frankfurt may be an option. Swiss and LH are both Star Alliamce members so other airlines that are members of Star Alliance MAY be an option. Especially as your outbound airline is LH!

View the journey as origin to destination as opposed to thinking about the European throughpoint. You may fare better with telesagent if you present them with options! If you post your return date I am sure a few of us can help with options!
 
Last edited:

Corned Beef

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
VDLP (Part) Jan/2022
Most airport sites will have a "destinations" map - and here is the Zurich one


As well as Madrid / Barcelona as options, Porto (a train/bus ride from Santiago) pops up. There is an additional issue of a PCR test when you cross the Spain/Portugal border but it may be worth it for better connections.

Edit: See @Chef66 beat me to it.
 
Original artwork based on your pilgrimage or other travel photos.
Donation to the Forum
A donation to this forum helps it continue to exists and also removes all ads for you.

Kathar1na

Member
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Most airport sites will have a "destinations" map - and here is the Zurich one
https://www.flughafen-zuerich.ch/en/passengers/fly/flightinformation/destinations
I had been looking for the destinations map for Zurich airport but I didn't find it. Destinations maps are useful for planning one's flights, and the Zurich one is particularly useful. It shows that, in February 2022, there is only one direct flight between Santiago and Zurich per week, namely on a Sunday and it's an Iberia codeshare; while SwissAir and others fly nearly every day from Porto to Zurich but apparently not on every Wednesday in February; and that there are many more options for Madrid-Zurich, including daily SwissAir flights.

So it seems to me that the question is not so much about what to do at Zurich airport while waiting for a booked flight to South Africa but rather from which airport and on which day is it currently possible to book a direct flight from Spain or Portugal to Zurich (if Zurich isn't dropped from the itinerary after all).
 
Last edited:

Chef66

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Now
I had been looking for the destinations map for Zurich airport but I didn't find it. Destinations maps are useful for planning one's flights, and the Zurich one is particularly useful. It shows that, in February 2022, there is only one direct flight between Santiago and Zurich per week, namely on a Sunday and it's an Iberia codeshare; while SwissAir and others fly nearly every day from Porto to Zurich but apparently not on every Wednesday in February; and that there are many more options for Madrid-Zurich.

So it seems to me that the question is not so much about what to do at Zurich airport while waiting for a booked flight to South Africa but rather on what day is it possible to get a direct flight from Spain or Portugal to Zurich (if Zurich isn't dropped from the itinerary after all).
Yes… I think the journey needs to be viewed as Spain/Portugal to South Africa as the European throughout is irrelevant unless I have missed something. Certainly as a starting point with a telesales agent anyway!
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
So what I am thinking of, is to buy a ticket for the day BEFORE my long haul flight (it leaves in the evening), and I stay in the Zurich transit area for over 24 hours. I should be sure then of getting the final flight if I am delayed en-route to Zurich. But can I do that – stay in transit for over 24 hours? It seems better to me, with all the covid rules and regulations, to stay in transit, rather than leave the airport.

What would you do?
I am wondering if you had to fly into Zurich and stay overnight…why you would need to stay in the transit area? If I am correct S. Africa requires a PCR test?
So wouldn’t you be able to book a room near Kloten Airport? Most hotels have shuttles. Or, You could also take the metro ino the city book a room there and enjoy walking around Zurich. lovely city.
 
Past OR future Camino
Next up 2022?
So it seems to me that the question is not so much about what to do at Zurich airport while waiting for a booked flight to South Africa but rather from which airport and on which day is it currently possible to book a direct flight from Spain or Portugal to Zurich (if Zurich isn't dropped from the itinerary after all).
Good point.
But I'd still be condidering the train. It's vastly more pleasant, and more climate friendly. And if you book a flight with a separate itinerary, it's functionally the same situation - a flight home from Zurich that's been orphaned because the airline cancelled the first leg.

Or, You could also take the metro ino the city book a room there and enjoy walking around Zurich. lovely city.
It's a snap to get into Zurich from the airport - there's a train station directly below the airport arrival area.
 

jsalt

Jill
Past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
I appreciate you all taking the time with this. My ticket was booked directly with Swiss Air online via their website. Depart JNB 19:40 on Wed 19 Jan to FRA, then FRA (next day) at 10:20 to BIO. Coming back: BIO to ZRH on Sun 27 Feb at 14:50 (now cancelled), finally ZRH to JNB at 22:40 (same day).

Sure I can get to other airports besides Bilbao. If I look for a flight MAD to ZRH on the Swiss website for 27 Feb the cost is from 86 euros (not direct) up to 156 euros (direct). That’s expensive. I definitely won’t get much of a credit for the cancelled leg, as the whole ticket only cost me 360 euros.
 
Original artwork based on your pilgrimage or other travel photos.
Donation to the Forum
A donation to this forum helps it continue to exists and also removes all ads for you.

jiggy

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2012
Camino Frances 2013
Camino Frances 2014
Le Puy 2015 to SJPP
Having sorted out a “Covid Pass” (I hope) on another thread (thank you!), I need your help again.

What would you do in the following scenario?

I have a return flight booked from South Africa to Bilbao on 19 January. Outbound it’s on Lufthansa via Frankfurt, and inbound it’s on Swiss Air via Zurich.

Swiss Air have now cancelled the Bilbao to Zurich leg. I can cancel the whole thing for a full refund, or I can accept the change, and they will refund me the Bilbao to Zurich leg once the trip has been completed.

Let’s say I accept the change. At the end of my camino I would have to buy another flight from somewhere in Spain to Zurich, in time to catch my long haul flight home.

You can see what’s coming, can’t you?

If this additional flight is delayed, and I miss my long haul flight, I am going to have to buy another ticket to get home (very expensive), as the delayed flight is not part of the original ticket.

So what I am thinking of, is to buy a ticket for the day BEFORE my long haul flight (it leaves in the evening), and I stay in the Zurich transit area for over 24 hours. I should be sure then of getting the final flight if I am delayed en-route to Zurich. But can I do that – stay in transit for over 24 hours? It seems better to me, with all the covid rules and regulations, to stay in transit, rather than leave the airport.

What would you do?
If you spend 24 hours in Zurich would your PCR still be valid even though you are technically in transit. If you have to have another
Having sorted out a “Covid Pass” (I hope) on another thread (thank you!), I need your help again.

What would you do in the following scenario?

I have a return flight booked from South Africa to Bilbao on 19 January. Outbound it’s on Lufthansa via Frankfurt, and inbound it’s on Swiss Air via Zurich.

Swiss Air have now cancelled the Bilbao to Zurich leg. I can cancel the whole thing for a full refund, or I can accept the change, and they will refund me the Bilbao to Zurich leg once the trip has been completed.

Let’s say I accept the change. At the end of my camino I would have to buy another flight from somewhere in Spain to Zurich, in time to catch my long haul flight home.

You can see what’s coming, can’t you?

If this additional flight is delayed, and I miss my long haul flight, I am going to have to buy another ticket to get home (very expensive), as the delayed flight is not part of the original ticket.

So what I am thinking of, is to buy a ticket for the day BEFORE my long haul flight (it leaves in the evening), and I stay in the Zurich transit area for over 24 hours. I should be sure then of getting the final flight if I am delayed en-route to Zurich. But can I do that – stay in transit for over 24 hours? It seems better to me, with all the covid rules and regulations, to stay in transit, rather than leave the airport.

What would you do?
would your PCR be valid after 24 hours. It may be better to get an earlier flight and have another test.
 

nzotto

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Their email:

1. If you would like to proceed with the proposed new itinerary, please use this option and accept the revised booking. (If we can only offer part of your originally planned trip and you still wish to travel, you are eligible for a partial refund after your trip has been completed.)
2. If the proposed new itinerary is not satisfactory and you prefer to postpone your travel to a later date, please use this option. Your reservation will be cancelled, but your ticket and booking code will remain valid to book new flights, based on our flexible rebooking policy. Please contact our Service Center to arrange your new itinerary.
3. You are entitled to a refund. you can submit your refund using this option. All remaining flights will be cancelled.

By the way, when I phone their "Service Centre" I am put on hold for ages and ages . . . until I give up, because my monthly cellphone account limit is about to run out and I'll be cut off anyway.
Hello Jill, I just had this issue with Swiss Air; my FLT was from Miami to Zurich, Zurich to Napoli, they canceled my leg from Zurich to Napoli. I called them up and rebooked the flight for a different day. I did have to wait an hour to talk to someone so have patience. I fly Swiss Air a lot and they good about helping to accommodate you. I hope this helps. Safe travels.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
I'd still be condidering the train. It's vastly more pleasant, and more climate friendly.
I gather that the departure station would be Santiago and not Bilbao ("when I am a few days away from Santiago ... i.e. a few days before I want to fly to Zurich"). In real-life terms that would mean a 35-hour long train trip, i.e. time spent on the trains plus time spent waiting for connections.

And what makes things more complicated is the fact that the flight to South Africa departs on a Sunday evening. Weekend. This, apparently, would require a departure from Santiago train station on Friday morning, arrival in Zurich on Saturday evening and then 24+ hours of travel-free time in Zurich ... I am all for trains and smaller carbon footprints and fewer starts of airplanes but under these circumstances ...?

Plus, but that's only a side remark and probably no longer applicable towards the end of February ... at the moment, perhaps surprisingly for those further away, trains and buses get currently cancelled too, due to lack of personnel who are on sick leave or in self isolation mainly due to fewer reservations. In Switzerland and France for example (10% of TGVs and 20% of Intercité cancelled as from today because of -30% fall in reservations).
 
Last edited:

Chef66

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Now
Hello Jill, I just had this issue with Swiss Air; my FLT was from Miami to Zurich, Zurich to Napoli, they canceled my leg from Zurich to Napoli. I called them up and rebooked the flight for a different day. I did have to wait an hour to talk to someone so have patience. I fly Swiss Air a lot and they good about helping to accommodate you. I hope this helps. Safe travels.
Good to hear and I think calling them up is the definite first option.
 
how to successfully prepare for your Camino
This book's focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared.
A thought-provoking Camino memoir. This day-by-day account will inspire you.
Past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Be very careful here. Normally, if you decide to skip a flight leg on a single ticket, the airline will assume a no-show and cancel the subsequent legs. Don't assume anything!
Definitely. We had a Boston/LA/Sydney flight booked but a hurricane's eye was scheduled to be over Boston's airport at the same time as our flight departure. We got there early and flew to LA using space available (easy, the airlines wanted its planes out fast, full or not). We didn't checkin at LA until regular flight boarding time. Assuming that we were still in Boston they sold our seats. They did get us on but with worse seats. They made up for it though when they upgraded us to first class for free for the Sydney/Honolulu leg (we also got some free tickets when we volunteered for a bump on the Minneapolis/Boston leg).

Which brings up this; bring documentation with you to Zurich along with nice clothing (i.e., not pilgrim attire) and ask if they will upgrade your seating for your troubles. This works best if you look the part.
 

Terrri

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
May/June 2013
September/October 2016
September/October 2019
You might find this site useful to see your options. This is the website we have been using for around 10 years now. It's for finding flights but you can't buy tickets. I believe I learned about it thru these forums.

matrix.itasoftware.com

We have flights booked for our camino in the spring and have had changes made twice so far. Luckily nothing that we can't live with, yet.

In 2019 we had to cancel our camino due to health reasons but because they changed our flights we managed to get a full refund. It was going to cost at least $100 per ticket to cancel so sometimes the flight changes work in people's favour.

Buen camino!
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I appreciate you all taking the time with this. My ticket was booked directly with Swiss Air online via their website. Depart JNB 19:40 on Wed 19 Jan to FRA, then FRA (next day) at 10:20 to BIO. Coming back: BIO to ZRH on Sun 27 Feb at 14:50 (now cancelled), finally ZRH to JNB at 22:40 (same day).

Sure I can get to other airports besides Bilbao. If I look for a flight MAD to ZRH on the Swiss website for 27 Feb the cost is from 86 euros (not direct) up to 156 euros (direct). That’s expensive. I definitely won’t get much of a credit for the cancelled leg, as the whole ticket only cost me 360 euros.
I appreciate you all taking the time with this. My ticket was booked directly with Swiss Air online via their website. Depart JNB 19:40 on Wed 19 Jan to FRA, then FRA (next day) at 10:20 to BIO. Coming back: BIO to ZRH on Sun 27 Feb at 14:50 (now cancelled), finally ZRH to JNB at 22:40 (same day).

Sure I can get to other airports besides Bilbao. If I look for a flight MAD to ZRH on the Swiss website for 27 Feb the cost is from 86 euros (not direct) up to 156 euros (direct). That’s expensive. I definitely won’t get much of a credit for the cancelled leg, as the whole ticket only cost me 360 euros.

It was Swiss airlines who cancelled your flight. They should offer you an alternative to get you home without increasing the price at such a late date! Politely tell them you expect them to honor your ticket to and from S. Africa to Spain! How do they propose to do that? did you speak with a supervisor?
 
Last edited:

jsalt

Jill
Past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
It was Swiss airlines who cancelled your flight. They should offer you an alternative to get you home without increasing the price at such a late date! Politely tell them you expect them to honor your ticket to and from S. Africa to Spain! How do they propose to do that? did you speak with a supervisor?
Hi, I haven't got through yet. I get put on hold forever.
 
John Brierley 2022 Camino Guide
The most selling Camino Guide is shipping November 1st. Get your today and start planning.
Camino Cups
Browse our selection of Camino Cups on the forum store

jsalt

Jill
Past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
I booked this cheap return flight last October, thinking that, if covid allows, I’ll go walk the camino in January (I LOVE winter caminos).

If covid doesn’t allow, then I’ll use the free postpone option and go later in the year.

However, with the cancellation of the third leg of the four leg trip, this is no longer a cheap return flight.

Swiss Air are not interested in replacing my third leg free of charge – I must pay extra at the current going rates, which are ridiculously expensive.

I can justify having to pay a lot extra in an emergency, but this is not an emergency.

So sadly I have cancelled my ticket for a full refund.

It’s fine.

I’ll go later in the year.

Thank you so much for all your efforts to get me there!
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Swiss Air are not interested in replacing my third leg free of charge – I must pay extra at the current going rates, which are ridiculously expensive.
I'm sorry, but they sold you a round trip ticket South Africa to Spain and back. They should have to honor that for the price that you paid.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Swiss Air are not interested in replacing my third leg free of charge – I must pay extra at the current going rates, which are ridiculously expensive. I can justify having to pay a lot extra in an emergency, but this is not an emergency. So sadly I have cancelled my ticket for a full refund.
I am very sorry to read this.

Sadly, I think, this is the reality now in 2022. I know that this is the case not for flight tickets but for Eurostar train tickets. Eurostar have a similar pricing policy as airlines, and I have lived through a number of booking/cancellation/fearing imminent cancellation dramas during 2021. They let you rebook as often as you want and free of charge, which is a good thing and still fairly new policy, but you will have to pay the current price for any new bookings and when it is short-term then the new ticket price is much higher than what you had paid for your original booking and you have to cough up the difference if you still want to travel around your chosen date and not defer or not opt for a refund when possible. So I am not surprised about Swissair's policy.
 
Camino Maps
A collection of Camino Maps from the Camino Forum Store
Original artwork based on your pilgrimage or other travel photos.

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Question - I don't know if you mentioned - who did you buy the ticket from? Lufthansa or SwissAir?
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I'm sorry, but they sold you a round trip ticket South Africa to Spain and back. They should have to honor that for the price that you paid.
Agree! If you cancel (freeof charge),then of course you would be responsible for current prices. But I find it hard-to comprehend how they can get away with not offering you an alternative flight to Spain, at the agreed upon price for those dates?? Something is not right with this?
 
Last edited:

Kathar1na

Member
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Agree! If you cancel (freeof charge),then of course you would be responsible for current prices. But I find it hard-to comprehend how they can get away with not offering you an alternative flight to Spain, at the agreed upon price for those dates?? Something is not right with this?
Why do you think that (I‘m really curious). They informed the passenger a long time before the flight about the cancellation. They offered reimbursement for the cancelled leg. They offered a refund for the whole flight. It‘s not a situation where the passenger is already at the airport and is then informed about a cancellation, that would be different.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Why do you think that (I‘m really curious). They informed the passenger a long time before the flight about the cancellation. They offered reimbursement for the cancelled leg. They offered a refund for the whole flight. It‘s not a situation where the passenger is already at the airport and is then informed about a cancellation, that would be different.
Because what was purchased was bought as a complete itinerary - not several separate flights. They can't just say sorry, make your own way to Zurich because we aren't operating that flight any more. They agreed on a price to fly her from South Africa to Bilbao, then back again. They are now saying that she can't have the product that she paid for, and if she wants the product that she has already paid for in full then she needs to pay more.

By the same token, airlines are within their rights to change flights from direct to an itinerary with a stop or two, but they have to get you to where they agreed to take you.

I do want to know which airline sold these flights.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Because what was purchased was bought as a complete itinerary - not several separate flights.
That's what we think but I'm not sure that it's the legal situation. But I don't know. What I am pretty certain of: @jsalt can make no claim for an EU flight delay compensation (Switzerland and Swiss Air Lines are covered by this). Because in that context outbound and inbound flight are indeed regarded as two separate flights, even when bought as a package on one ticket as one flight, and the airline informed the passenger more than 14 days before the flight about the cancellation.
 
Last edited:
Camino Socks
Browse the Camino Socks collection on the forum shop
Original artwork based on your pilgrimage or other travel photos.

Kathar1na

Member
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
I do not know if you live in a city, but if so, does the airline have an office you might stop in to speak with a person? Or are you near the airport where you could go to the airline's desk and have them work it out?
The flight is already cancelled and a refund is requested.

Still, it would be interesting to know more about passenger rights in such cases. I had a look on the Flyerstalk forum but I am none the wiser. It was a flight booked with a Swiss airline that would have started in South Africa and ended in the EU resp started in the EU. So EU261 applies anyway. All I know for certain now is that DOT rules don’t apply (I guess that DOT stands for US Department of Transport?).
 

Kathar1na

Member
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
People on Flyerstalk are sometimes quite knowledgeable. Here is a possible explanation but I didn’t check it any further:

More importantly, under the April 2020 Guidance issued by the EC, it is quite clear that during the pandemic (without relation to whether there is a specific factual connection to the pandemic), Section 8 rebooking may well be met with a refund alone.

EC stands for European Commission who determines the rules for passengers rights for flights starting or ending in the EU or undertaken by European airlines including what is now called Swiss International Airlines.
 

jsalt

Jill
Past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
who did you buy the ticket from? Lufthansa or SwissAir?
I bought the ticket from Swiss Air. I could have bought it from Lufthansa, but as I knew that Swiss Air gives an immediate full refund (been there done this before!), I chose Swiss.

My options were to 1. Accept the change as is, or 2. Postpone to a later date for flights to the value of my original cost; if later flights cost more, then I would have to pay in the extra, or 3. Cancel for a full refund.

I did look at postponing to a week or two later, but the prices were much too expensive to consider.

I do not know if you live in a city, but if so, does the airline have an office you might stop in to speak with a person? Or are you near the airport where you could go to the airline's desk and have them work it out?
I live 400km from Johannesburg – there may be a Swiss Air desk there. The service call centre and head office is in Cape Town, 2000 kms away.
 
Camino Jewellery
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Peaceable Projects Inc.
Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
My options were to 1. Accept the change as is, or 2. Postpone to a later date for flights to the value of my original cost; if later flights cost more, then I would have to pay in the extra, or 3. Cancel for a full refund.
I realize that those were the options offered to you by the automated system. Were you ever able to talk to them on the phone?
 

Kathar1na

Member
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
My options were to 1. Accept the change as is, or 2. Postpone to a later date for flights to the value of my original cost; if later flights cost more, then I would have to pay in the extra, or 3. Cancel for a full refund.
You have already accepted option 3 so any discussion has become academic.

Still, I got curious. Swiss is now a daughter company of the Lufthansa Group. The email that you quoted is very similar in wording and content to an email that Lufthansa has been sending to a number of customers recently. German consumer advocates are disputing the legality of what they are doing but Lufthansa does not budge. Apparently, there will be a court case about this in Cologne towards the end of January. It's not exactly the same situation as yours but similar.
 

jsalt

Jill
Past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
I realize that those were the options offered to you by the automated system. Were you ever able to talk to them on the phone?
The only reasonable option they could offer from Spain to Zurich was from Madrid, which would cost me another +/- 130 euros if I flew direct. (Forget stopovers that could also be cancelled at anytime.)

She said the flight Zurich to Jo'burg would still be valid if I took, say, the train.

But I didn't have that in writing, and I didn't want to chance it (her word against mine), and I couldn't find a cheaper alternative anyway, that didn't involve more expensive covid tests between Santiago - Zurich - Johannesburg.

Thank you for you help!

We win some we lose some.

I was once bumped off a flight from Lisbon to Rome, because I had the cheapest ticket, bought months before, and they had overbooked.

At Lisbon airport early morning they rebooked me on the late evening flight, and gave me a lunch voucher.

And 400 euros in cash.

I was a very happy bunny when I finally met up with my husband in the hotel in Rome at 2am!
 

Mycroft

Active Member
I bought the ticket from Swiss Air. I could have bought it from Lufthansa, but as I knew that Swiss Air gives an immediate full refund (been there done this before!), I chose Swiss.

My options were to 1. Accept the change as is, or 2. Postpone to a later date for flights to the value of my original cost; if later flights cost more, then I would have to pay in the extra, or 3. Cancel for a full refund.

I did look at postponing to a week or two later, but the prices were much too expensive to consider.


I live 400km from Johannesburg – there may be a Swiss Air desk there. The service call centre and head office is in Cape Town, 2000 kms away.
Oh dear--I certainly understand. I live 4-5 hours away from the airport, so similar to you trying to get to Johannesburg. Plus people eventually answer the phone when I call American Airlines.
Do you know anyone with a landline phone you can use instead of wasting your mobile phone minutes?
 

Did not find what you were looking for? Search here

Popular Resources

“All” Albergues on the Camino Frances in one pdf ivar
  • Featured
“All” Albergues on the Camino Frances in one pdf
4.95 star(s) 102 ratings
Downloads
15,346
Updated
A selection of favorite albergues on the Camino Francés Ton van Tilburg
Favorite Albergues along the Camino Frances
4.83 star(s) 35 ratings
Downloads
8,006
Updated
Profile maps of all 34 stages of the Camino Frances ivar
Profile maps of all 34 stages of the Camino Frances
4.88 star(s) 24 ratings
Downloads
7,774
Updated

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Updates on YouTube

Camino Conversations

Most downloaded Resources

Top