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Logistics Help needed! Early Flight ZUR-AMS-DFW (USA)

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Logistics Help needed! Early Flight ZUR-AMS-DFW (USA)

Help and apologies up front-I usually overthink things! =) My brain is just on overload currently as we prepare to go into unfamiliar territory!

The airlines have changed my return home and my husband also had a change of plans and has to fly home a few days early. My 11-year-old son and I are trying to figure out how to work our departure morning alone. We have lots of luggage, heavy, and my back is disabled so I can't lift. This complicates things. I can roll short distances. More on that in a minute.

My new flight ZUR - AMS (Amsterdam) is leaving at 07:30am, connecting to a US flight to Dallas 2.5 hours later.

We currently have a hotel booked 18km away at the Ibis Winterthur. This was going to be easy with our later flight before our plans changed. The affordability made it very attractive.

I have a rental car to return but none of the opening hours appear to be before 06:00am, and I'm not sure there are options to drop off the vehicle before opening hours. If I wait until 06:00am to check in my car, I think that is too late to maybe get over to my plane?

I have considered dropping my car off the night before....perhaps even the bulky luggage and storing it in lockers, and then taking the train (We also will have a half-fare card) back and forth to Winterthur that night and again in the morning...if it runs at 04:30am??? I don't know if the same check-in rule applies to flights over there and 3 hours early is the recommended check-in time here in the US for international fights. I could also take a taxi from Winterthur but I believe it's around 75CHF.

The hotels close to the airport are much more expensive and charge for parking...but then there wouldn't be all the back and forth stuff. The downside there is they are completely non-refundable, pay up front, no changes. There is an apartment about 1km from the airport and a taxi would be $10. Then I could get a porter at the airport if they work that early? Staying close would make it easy to drop the car the night before.

We are going to be in the country a month and needed the car for other reasons but will be close to Zurich (Luzerne, Zug) for the last 48 hours). Maybe I could check in my car a few days early and just train locally with my boy?

Luggage for each of us consists of a large 50lb rolling duffle, a full-size carry-on large rolling backpack and a computer bag or smaller backpack to also carry on. If need be we could condense just down to the rolling carry-on the night before if we could figure how to store the larger checked bags and the smaller personal carry-on's.

I would appreciate thoughts.

I have to think of $$$, convenience, ability, disability, and do-ability.

Again.....main questions:

1) How big/How much are lockers at the airport and would they hold luggage our size? (I think we would have to have lockers we could access after hours if we need to be there super early)

2) Does anyone know if you can drop off rental cars outside of opening hours

3) How early do the porters work at the airport and how much to tip them?

4) How early do trains and taxi's run?

5) How early do we REALLY need to check in?

Many thanks in advance!

Anchorage, Alaska
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1. Re: Logistics Help needed! Early Flight ZUR-AMS-DFW (USA)

Hi, many of your questions can be answered by giving the airline a call! I would suggest you do that regarding check in time in Zurich when you are connecting to the US through Amsterdam - it's important that you tell them you are connecting to the US.

Why not park in the car rental area of the parking garage, go check in for your flight and get rid of your luggage and then walk back to check in the car? If you are going through security at 0630, you can make your gate just fine. Nothing stops you from going from the check in desk back to the parking garage area for rental cars.

Or turn in the car and stay near the airport. There's a Holiday Inn nearby that has a rate of about $175 including breakfast that starts at 4AM. I don't think they have a shuttle.'

I have had KLM allow me to check bags the evening before when doing a connection through AMS. I was in business class and I don't know if that had an impact. There are lockers but whether they are emptied every night, I don't know.

I just had a thought. There are rooms at the airport. Okay, they aren't fancy and there aren't a lot of amenities but they are clean and comfortable


It might be worth contacting them!

Call the car rental company about a key drop for the rental car. Many airport locations do have a key drop. If you use it, be sure to take photographs of the car after it is parked in the car return area just in case damage is done after you leave.

Of course, I would keep doing a check on getting a room at the Radisson Blu at the airport. Every so often one of the booking websites has a special rate. It's so easy to just walk through the airport buildings to get to the check in desk.

Sorry to tell you that there aren't any porters that I've seen at the airport. However, there are tons of baggage trolleys and they are free so you just grab one and go to the check in counter.

You can book a taxi or transfer as early as you need but I would look for a hotel (Movenpick is one and it's very nice) that has a shuttle that runs early. If you do need a taxi, have the hotel desk book it for you the evening before.

There are lots of options really. I'll keep thinking on it.

Easton, Pennsylvania
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2. Re: Logistics Help needed! Early Flight ZUR-AMS-DFW (USA)

There is an Airport Ibis (Messe) near Zurich Airport with reasonable rates. The rooms are small but the hotel is very clean. Currently breakfast is 16sf per person. I would skip breakfast there and just pick up a croissant and coffee at the airport.

Not sure which airline you are taking? I know Swiss/Lufthansa airlines allows advance check in the day before. We did it recently the day before our flight and then the next morning we just came to the airport and went to our gate! Was wonderful! As KM recommends, call your airline and find out how soon you can check in. If you can check in early, then I would bring the bags to the airport the day before and check in. Once the large bag is gone, return your car. Put your carry on bags on a free cart which can be used on the esculators at Zurich Airport and I would wheel your carry on and computer bag to the pick up location for one of the airport schuttles to a local airport hotel...such as Ibis. Shuttle pick ups is outside between the main terminal and the shopping center and Train station. Right now there is construction going on...so when you are outside look for the taxi areas and the pick ups for the hotel vans and sandwiched inbetween those locations. Good Luck and take care of your back...not easy when your traveling!

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3. Re: Logistics Help needed! Early Flight ZUR-AMS-DFW (USA)

You could try looking at it another way round. Could you carry less luggage? That's a huge amount to have, particularly for an 11 yr old.

If you skip the 50lb duffel for him and he just has the full sized backpack and computer bag with his wash bag in your duffel would it be easier? Would it ruin the holiday for him just to have the clothes he can carry in this?

4. Re: Logistics Help needed! Early Flight ZUR-AMS-DFW (USA)

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