Zurich International Flight Hub
Zurich Airport took 6th place as the World’s Best Airport according to a SkyTrax 2015 contest. The UK based company polled 12 million people, thus, this award is really a people’s choice award. And 6th place in the world, is not too shabby. Zurich Airport also took 8th place for world’s cleanest airport, and as a world traveler, the author can attest that a clean airport keeps passengers really happy!
There are over 100 restaurants and retail stores at the Zurich Transit Hub. Of these the most interesting to the author are two made-in-Switzerland stores. One is called Spirit of Switzerland and the other is called Schweizer Heimatwerk and both stores offer all things Swiss made from toys to watches. Don’t forget those cool metal water bottles with the SWISS logos…yes, these too are made in Switzerland.
Speaking of watches, some of the most popular and reliable brands have home bases in Switzerland. How about Tag Heuer, Rolex, Swatch or Omega? Both Swatch and Omega have Zurich airport based stores. Some of the finest chocolate such as Sprungli, Toblerone and Lindt are all made in Switzerland, too and you can find their chocolate at the Zurich Airport. Lindt even has a chocolate “bar” as in–location, not consumable confection–in the Zurich mega hub.
By the way, there are few airports in the world that would sell Nutella in their Duty Free shop, so you must go just to witness this strange oddity—if not to buy some of the addictive stuff! If you’ve never had Nutella, you must. It’s a delicious mix of hazelnuts and chocolate. It’s not made in Switzerland, but it’s most definitely an item of modern European culture.
If you want to look at the healthy culture of Switzerland, look no further than what is offered at the Zurich Airport Transit Hub. You can rent bicycles, inline skates, and Nordic walking poles—at the airport?! Prices range from about $20 US Dollars for four hours to $36 for the entire day for a bicycle and less for the other pieces of equipment. This is quite telling about the outdoor lifestyle in Switzerland.
If you have a short layover and just want some fresh air there are two observation decks. They are named B and E. B is open year round and to get to E, you must take a free shuttle bus—this is available only in the summer months. Deck B has many features such as Multimedia binoculars. These special binoculars are aimed at fixed points at airport operations and viewers can see a description of that particular airport feature. There is also a miniature airport at Observation deck B that is popular with the kids. There is a charge to enter the observation deck; it’s about $5 for Adults and $2 for children. Frequent users can buy a multi-use pass and find a little bit of savings. There are very strict rules for vising the observation deck—such as only a certain sized hand bag is allowed, and you must only walk—no skateboarding or in line skating, and no dogs are allowed. Make sure you read the rules before you go up so you make sure you are in compliance.
Every Thursday the airport hosts Zurich Airport After Work, an event that draws crowds looking for post-work relief. This event features a DJ and bar specials. Come by on a Thursday evening and see what all the hoopla is about!
Family Services are available if you are traveling with younger kids. Having a place for them to play prior to take-off is a great idea because a tired child is a good child on the airplane. There are two kids play centers at Zurich at departure areas A and E. The play areas are outfitted with bright toys and interactive play items for all ages of children. Traveling with a baby? Family Services also has nursing rooms, sleep rooms, and other necessities for traveling with a small child such as a microwave and changing tables and supplies.
There are also several options to rest in peace at the Zurich mega hub. Choose the Transit Hotel, the Rest Area or one of the lounges depending upon what you are in the mood for. The Transit Hotel is available for a private nap or overnight rest. The accommodations are far from luxurious, but definitely get the job done. The Rest Area is more like a college dorm with single beds and thin wall separators between each bed. There is not much privacy, but if you are so very tired that you would sleep through everything, then the Rest Area would do just fine for a nap. But maybe just a shower and a relaxing lounge is what you need. Then the airport has you covered, as you can pay for a shower and be ready to go!
Zurich Airport is Switzerland’s most important transportation and meeting hub—at least that is what their website says. Let’s take a look at their business and their operations in a bit more detail because the author finds them fascinating.
Switzerland’s first intercontinental flight was conducted in 1921. In the years leading up to today there were runway enhancements and extensions, new buildings and terminals created. Today, Zurich’s hub has over 24,000 employees when added together with its 280 business partners. This is a huge organization to manage. So how does Zurich win cleanliness of infrastructure, reliability, staff friendliness and other awards with such a huge employee and partner base? The answer lies in their business Strategy. They use all their resources wisely and with fluidity, keep up with current market trends to increase the security and viability of their services, continue to reach further and improve services, and meet changing needs of the market to ensure long term viability. The author is impressed with the records that Zurich shares on their website. They share all of their passenger data and flight history…this is a very transparent company indeed.
Zurich Airport Hub takes sustainability and the environment very seriously. They have several measures in place to drive airport operations and enhancements. Their commitment to the environment is demonstrated in the following guiding principles taken directly from their website:
- Entrepreneurial Added Value and Contributing to the Economy
- Reducing the Impact on the Environment and Improving Environmental Efficiency
- Attractive Environment for all Stakeholders and Dialogue with Neighbors
Zurich’s Airport Hub does a great job of showing the pride and craftsmanship of Switzerland’s products in the stores within the airport. They also do a great job teaching and sharing the operations behind running an airport by giving tours, education on the observation decks and sharing their business strategy and posting numbers data on their website. The Zurich Airport has an impressive business plan and keeps good relations with their customers, partners and their neighbors. What’s not to like?