Train baggages
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The Swiss have come up with one of the greatest, and simplest, ideas around for easing the stress of air travel. For a relatively small fee, you can send your bags direct from the check-in desk at your home airport through to pretty much any train station in Switzerland for collection later the same day, entirely eliminating the hassle of reclaiming your bags at the airport carousel and then lugging them around while you find your hotel. Whoever you’re flying with (it doesn’t have to be Swissair, and it can be from any airport in the world), all you need to do is to fill out a special green customs label and attach one to each item of baggage. Each label costs £10, but you can get them only from the Swissair ticket desk in Terminal 2 at Heathrow, or from the Swissair office at Leicester Square in central London (020/7434 7300). If you’re not flying out of Heathrow, or if you can’t get into London, you’ll need to send a guaranteed cheque covering the cost of however many labels you need to Swissair Tickets, Swiss Court, London W1V 4BJ, including an SAE.

On arrival, your bags are spirited away to the train station you specified on the label, via the super-efficient Swiss Federal Railways network. Bags are normally available for pick-up three to seven hours after you land, depending on how far away you end up from the airport you flew into. Baggage counters at larger Swiss train stations are open long hours for collection, often 7am to 11pm or so daily, but note that counters at smaller stations quite often close at 7 or 8pm. You don’t have to pick up your bags in person, since the station staff only need to see ID and your label-stub: check with your hotel whether or not they’ll charge for sending a porter to collect your bags for you.

For more information, and a pamphlet with a complete list of processing times at all Swiss stations served, call the Swiss Federal Railways office in London (020/7734 1921). The homeward-bound version of “Rail Baggage” is “Fly Baggage”, covered on p.36.

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