Coronavirus: Struggling Swiss airlines offer ‘return flight guarantee’

Swiss is offering passengers a ‘return flight guarantee’ to all European destinations in the case of emergency.

Coronavirus: Struggling Swiss airlines offer ‘return flight guarantee’
An empty Swiss counter at Geneva airport. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

The airline said it wanted to give its passengers extra security as the troubled airline industry emerges from the coronavirus pandemic. 

Swiss resumed some flights in June after taking on substantial losses during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown. 

All customers, regardless of ticket price or flight category, will benefit from the guarantee. 

In the case of an emergency, passengers would be flown back to Switzerland, Germany or Austria via the airlines of the Lufthansa group. 

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The airline is also offering additional insurance options in case of quarantine and other unexpected costs. 

The ‘Economy Classic’ and ‘Business Saver’ options provide additional guarantees, for example to cover the costs of mandatory quarantines, for instance if passengers are unable to enter the country due to increased temperatures or other requirements. 

In this case, the airline will cover the cost of the quarantine or organise return transport. 

READ: What can passengers expect at Swiss airports and on planes? 

Swiss have also set up a ‘Bring Me Home Now’ option, which gives customers a guarantee that they will be returned home within 48 hours on a flight or flights from the Lufthansa group if they request it. 

The option will be available from June 25th and will apply to return flights until January 2021.

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Masks, tests and jabs: Can I deduct Covid-related costs from my taxes in Switzerland?

Switzerland’s tax deadline is just around the corner. Are Covid-related costs tax deductible?

Masks, tests and jabs: Can I deduct Covid-related costs from my taxes in Switzerland?

March 31st is the deadline for filing taxes in Switzerland relating to the 2021 financial year. 

Over the past two years, the Covid pandemic has seen a change in our spending habits. 

While we may have saved on restaurants and travel, we laid out considerable costs on a range of new expenses, including disinfectant, masks and Covid tests. 

As some of these costs are required by law, can they be deducted from your tax?

In some cases, expenses directly related to the Covid pandemic can be deducted. 

Masks, for instance, can be deducted as medical expenses in some cantons, Swiss tax specialist Markus Stoll told 20 Minutes

This depends on the specific framework for tax deductions related to medical expenses in that canton. 

EXPLAINED: What can I deduct from my tax bill in Switzerland?

Generally speaking, any medical costs paid out of pocket can be deducted. However, most cantons impose a minimum percentage limit from which these costs can be deducted. 

In many cantons, this will start at five percent of your yearly income in total (i.e. including other out-of-pocket costs like dental or specialist visits), meaning you would need to purchase a significant amount of masks to beat the threshold. 

What about testing and vaccination?

Testing and vaccinations however were largely free as their costs were covered by the Swiss government, which means associated expenses cannot be deducted. 

Those tests which were not covered by the government – for instance for travel abroad or for visiting clubs – cannot be deducted, Stoll says. 

“Tests for travel abroad or to visit clubs are not deductible” Stoll said. 

For a complete overview of taxation in Switzerland, including several specific guides, please check out our tax-specific page here.