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TRAVEL NEWS

Swiss airlines makes Covid vaccination compulsory for pilots and cabin crew

All cabin crew - including pilots and stewards - flying on Swiss airlines must get vaccinated for Covid after the flagship carrier updated its rules.

Swiss airlines makes Covid vaccination compulsory for pilots and cabin crew
A Swiss plane parked at Zurich airport. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Switzerland’s flagship carrier, Swiss airlines, will require all of its cabin crew and pilots to be vaccinated against Covid. 

The airline announced that it will introduce this rule from November 15th, “because of the regulations in force in various countries around the world, which increasingly require a compulsory vaccine for crews”.

The airline said it would become too difficult to organise crews on the basis of ground rules in respective countries. 

UPDATED: Who can travel to Switzerland right now?

“The different handling of vaccinated and unvaccinated crew members and the associated high complexity of operational planning would mean that orderly flight operations could no longer be ensured in the long term,” reads the press release. 

Hong Kong is the first destination in the Swiss network to require proof of vaccination for crews from certain countries, including for flights from Switzerland.

“It is important that we take measures now that allow us to preserve our global network while fulfilling our duty to protect our employees”, said the company’s CEO Dieter Vranckx.

Airlines have been one of the hardest hit industries as a result of the Covid pandemic. 

The decision has been understood by airline crews, who indicated they would have preferred the requirement remain voluntary. 

“This is a decision that is lawful and anchored in the GAV,” says Sandrine Nikolic-Fuss to Swiss news outlet 20 Minutes

“We would have liked the vaccination to remain voluntary, but we can understand that it would not have been possible in many countries because of its applicability.”

While some pilots have indicated they would have preferred to be consulted on the issue, the pilot union was similarly understanding. 

UPDATED: Can you be fired in Switzerland if you refuse the Covid-19 vaccine?

“We would have liked to have talked to us beforehand about the consequences for employees who do not want or cannot be vaccinated. You don’t know what to expect now,” said Henning Hoffmann, managing director of the Aeropers pilots’ association. 

While we feel vaccination “should remain voluntary in principle, but the decision is understandable in view of the restrictions in many countries.”

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TRAIN TRAVEL

Five European cities you can reach from Zurich in less than five hours by train

Switzerland is a beautiful country, but it also has a great location right in the centre of Europe, making it an ideal starting point for train travel. Here are five destinations you can reach in less than five hours from Zurich.

Five European cities you can reach from Zurich in less than five hours by train

As summer is still in full swing and there are many vacation days (or free weekends) to enjoy the sunny weather, it’s not the wrong time to do some travelling. Switzerland is a beautiful country, but it’s also centrally located in Europe. This means that many major European cities are reachable in just a few hours.

If you are located in Zurich, for example, then you are very near Germany, France, Italy, Liechtenstein and Austria. In less than five hours, visiting beautiful cities in these five countries is possible by taking a comfortable train ride.

So, select your final destination, get your ticket, and enjoy the ride.

READ ALSO: Switzerland’s ten most beautiful villages you have to visit

From Zurich to Strasbourg

It will take you just about 2 hours and 30 minutes (including time to stop and change trains in Basel) to get from Zurich’s mains station to the beautiful and historical city of Strasbourg, in northeast France.

Prices vary depending on several factors, but we found one-way tickets for just around CHF 23 on a Friday.

From Zurich to Munich

The capital of Bavaria can be reached from Zurich’s central station on a direct train in just 3 hours 30 minutes, allowing for short stays.

Munich may seem quite far away on a map, but the fast trains without stopovers actually make the journey quick and pleasant. We found one-way tickets for around CHF 70 on a Friday trip.

From Zurich to Vaduz

The capital of Liechtenstein is easy to reach in less than 2 hours from the Zurich central station. In fact, some journeys will take just about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

The lovely town bordering Switzerland has many tourist attractions, from its pedestrian historical centre to castles and parks. Train ticket prices always vary, but we found tickets for a one-way journey on a Friday costing CHF 20.

READ ALSO: Travel: What are the best night train routes to and from Switzerland?

From Zurich to Milan

Depending on the train you take, you can get from Zurich to Italy’s fashion capital in three to four hours with a direct train.

Before 2016, when the Gotthard Base Tunnel was opened to rail traffic, a trip from Zurich to Milan took an hour longer. It’s possible to find tickets for about CHF 70 for a one-way trip on a Friday.

From Zurich to Innsbruck

From Zurich, it is possible to hop on a direct train and, in just over 3 hours and 30 minutes, arrive in the beautiful town of Innsbruck, in the mountains of Tyrol.

Ticket costs vary, but we found tickets for a relatively short-notice one-way trip on a Friday (without discounts) for CHF 84.

READ ALSO: Five beautiful Swiss villages located near Alpine lakes

Cost:

Fares depend on several factors, such as time of the day and day of the week when you travel.

While a rock-bottom cheap fare may be available one day in the morning, it won’t necessarily be offered the next day (or week) in the afternoon, or vice-versa.

Prices also depend on whether you are entitled to any discounts and which wagon you choose.

If you are interested in travelling farther afield, including with night trains, or if you are in other Swiss cities, these articles provide more information:

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