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Geneva to Tignes transfer question

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi,

16 of us have booked Xmas week at one of the Chardons chalets in Tignes la Brevieres and we are arriving on the 22nd December and then going home on the 29th. We've booked our transfer through Chardons which is fine but the transfer company are suggesting picking us up at 12:00 for our flight which leaves at 20:45. The whole reason we chose such a late flight was to get most of the last day in the resort but they are saying that it is the busiest transfer day of the year and its at our own risk to leave it any later. Bag drop is open until 20:00 so I thought leaving at 15:30 would give us ample time to get there.

For people who have done this transfer before, does it ring true that the roads could be so busy on the 29th that we'd really have to leave that early?? Not really fancying sitting in a coach for 7 hours which is what they are implying it will take to get there by saying we should leave at 12.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I could be talking rubbish as I haven’t done that transfer that week, but I’d have thought there would be more traffic coming up than going down on that day, and also that the vast majority of the traffic going down would have left resort before 3pm due to people needing to check out before 12, due in turn to the ultra busy incoming week.

So I’d tend to agree with you. My guess is your company want to get to Geneva in time to do a run in the other direction.

Have you tried findtransfers.com?
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That's exactly my thoughts as well, probably to tie in with another flight and just leave us sat at the airport for 5 hours!! We have to be out of the chalet to but they say we can leave our luggage and just pick up as we leave so no reason for us to be away sharp unless we really have to be.

The only worry is if the roads are single track meaning that all the oncoming traffic to the resort really slows the road down both ways, is this the case?

Also with your query on find transfers I never tried them but already paid a deposit now so stuck with them I suppose unless they refuse to change the time.
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cerbfan wrote:
The only worry is if the roads are single track meaning that all the oncoming traffic to the resort really slows the road down both ways, is this the case?


Not saying that traffic coming in can't slow traffic going out - but the roads are not single track.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Quote:

the roads are not single track.

but it only takes heavy snow and a couple of ill-equipped vehicles to achieve much the same thing.
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pam w wrote:
Quote:

the roads are not single track.

but it only takes heavy snow and a couple of ill-equipped vehicles to achieve much the same thing.


Indeed.

But as least as far as the dam - before the split to Val D'Isere - the road from Bourg is pretty nice and wide.
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I suspect a lot of people have booked for next year, but perhaps not many have been given their transfer details yet. There seemed lots of talk last winter (yes, unfortunately I consider it now ended) about delays or fears on changeover day. Could it be that lots of companies will allow way more time next season, especially when transfers are outsourced to a different company? Reduce or eliminate the risk of paying compo or cost of new travel arrangements? I am no expert but i assume any costs if you were delayed would fall to the transfer rather than the accommodation company?
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Seems excessively early / cautious to me. Our transfer back from Tignes Val Claret on the Saturday after Easter left at 5am for an 11.15 flight - but that included multiple pick up stops and also a stop at the motorway service station. 1530 might be cutting it a bit fine though - I'd probably aim to leave by 1500 latest
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Quote:

that included multiple pick up stops and also a stop at the motorway service station. 1530 might be cutting it a bit fine though - I'd probably aim to leave by 1500 latest

yes - it's not necessarily a non-stop door to door journey. If you want to be in complete control, rent cars - with four to a car, would be economical. Or you could presumably shop around for transfers?
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That Saturday is one of the busiest of the year, and weather is not inevitable but likely. The downhill traffic will not be cleared by the time you leave. This year it was taking 3 hours to get to Moutiers. It would not surprise me if it took 6 hours to get to Geneva. Given that it can take at least an hour to do a bag drop/get through security, I think the transfer company is being is being responsible, it may appear cautious but they are the experts. 16 people will require 2 minibuses.

As your contract will be with Simply Transfers there is no compo issues with Chardons. Most chalet companies would require you to be out by 9am anyway so they can clean for the arrivals.
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A transfer company will always err on the side of caution with timings.... the last thing they (or you) want is to compromise their drivers into having to drive fast to chase the clock to make your check-in/departure time.

If they were to say "oh yes, let's give you a few hours longer on the Piste" and then get delayed enroute and you miss your flight who's liable?

That's if you get to the pick up point in time, the number of people I've heard of who for whatever reason were late..... xyz lift was shut, so & so broke their leg, it was icier than I thought.....

As @pam w, if you want to chose your departure time rent your own car.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Hi again.

OK thanks for all the advice, to clear a couple of things up, yes it is Simply Transfers, not sure how exactly you knew that as Chardons went out to multiple companies for us and they were the best price I was told. Also it's not 2 x 8 seaeters it's a larger bus that we can all get in and it's a private transfer for only us so no stopping en-route to pick other people up.

I have now asked 5 different companies what time they would suggest leaving and they have all said between 2:30 and 3:00 to get there in plenty of time for 20:45 flight and yes they knew the return date. So to me it sounds like Simply Transfers are being overly cautious.

Also if we were to be late for the pickup that would be completely our fault as it would be if one of us was to break our leg and miss it (we'd have more to worry about then a flight home if this was to happen) and our own insurance would cover costs anyway.
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ah a bigger bus... what's the speed restriction for those on Autoroutes..... 90kmh? ie 56mph whereas 8 seaters have no such restrictions, were the others quoting like for like?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
In a car in summer at a quiet time of day, I can do Brev to Geneva in 2 hrs 30. In a bus it will be slower so lets say 2hrs 45. As its one of the busiest Sats of the year lets be generous and add only 45 mins for the colossal weight of traffic going in both directions. So 3 and a half hours. So if you leave at 1500hrs you will arrive at 1830 hrs, which would be enough time just to do an Easy bag drop (often 45 mins) and then security (often 30-45 mins).

So very little contingency at all if there happens to be snow in the air you will miss your flight. Best of luck with the insurance company.

There are very few companies that do more than 8 seats for a private transfer - so best of luck finding another company.

PS To give weightings to the advice you have received: Marcellus runs a business in the Alps and I have done 6 seasons in Tignes (having been going there for 20 years) and do a lot of boozing with the owners of 2 transfer companies.
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
My guess is they have consoldated a load of departures for different flights onto the same coach and the depature time represents a generous allowance for the first depature.

To the chalet operator getting you out of the chalet as soon as possible so they can clean must be very attractive. To them you leave at a particular day having you sitting around for 5 hours at the airport is no concern to them.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@johnE, as the OP has explained, it's a private transfer so no consolidation. Chalet Chardons are an incredibly helpful bunch and would, based on my experience, let you store luggage, find somewhere for you to change, etc. so what time you left for the airport would not impact them at all, as you would have been out of the chalet early in the day anyway.
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@cerbfan, have a read of this thread for what happens when it snows of the busiest transfer day of the year:
http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=115242#2637649
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
If you'd seen them queueing out the door from the Easyjet check in desk on Saturday you'd want to be there a few hours early. I've also seen them queueing from security through the restaurant to get through (with no priority passes being accepted even for people who will miss flights and have checked in) and on a busy Saturday, potential for weather, just get to GVA, sit down and chill out with a beer, have a late lunch, check bags in and get on the plane. It isn't a difficult place to spend a few hours.

I always find skiing on the last day much less fun than it should be - normally spend most of the day making sure we are close enough to home to get back in good time, get all flapped and hate packing in a luggage room with 10 minutes before the bus arrives, then exhausted for the travel home.
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Digger the dinosaur wrote:
If you'd seen them queueing out the door from the Easyjet check in desk on Saturday you'd want to be there a few hours early. I've also seen them queueing from security through the restaurant to get through (with no priority passes being accepted even for people who will miss flights and have checked in) and on a busy Saturday, potential for weather, just get to GVA, sit down and chill out with a beer, have a late lunch, check bags in and get on the plane. It isn't a difficult place to spend a few hours.

I always find skiing on the last day much less fun than it should be - normally spend most of the day making sure we are close enough to home to get back in good time, get all flapped and hate packing in a luggage room with 10 minutes before the bus arrives, then exhausted for the travel home.


My experience at Geneva is the same - that security Queue is horrendous and for the unprepared a shock. Add to that the queue you sometimes get going through Immigration and Bag Drop - I wouldn't be risking it for the sake of a couple of hours of extra skiing. When on a lads trip in Megeve last season we left at 4pm for a half 7 flight - drive was fine - 1hr 30mins - check in and security had us scurrying to the gate - wont make that mistake again, especially since the extra 4hours were basically spent not on the slopes but in a cafe/bar.
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@cerbfan,
It does seem a bit early. I've done a stint of transfer driving before. If this is a coach it will have a tachograph and they could be building in time for the driver to have a mandatory break on the transfer. (break probably not required but if the traffic is a bit stop start it could stretch the driving time and then force the driver to have a rest stop).
Maybe ask for a 'quote' from another transfer company for 2 x 8 passenger seat mini buses and see what time they propose the transfer.
Leaving at 14:15hrs would still give you a decent morning skiing and the roads leaving resort should be quiet then.
White rides, mountain rescue and alpine sherpa are a few to get quotes from.
https://whiterides.co.uk/
Paying a few quid extra for the transfer might get you all an extra 1/2 day skiing and a much quicker and more convenient ride to GVA on the 29th
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I've been driving transfers in the Tarentaise for over 10 years and there's no way in hell I'd advise leaving Tignes at 1500 for a 2045 (i.e. 1845 check-in) flight. Any transfer company suggesting it should be looked-on with considerable suspicion as it strongly suggests they're pretty clueless.

Honestly, for that weekend, we advise everyone to leave the valley as early as they can, ideally before 8am, no matter what their flight time is. If it snows that weekend, then all bets are off on the roads. My other half did a transfer to Chambery that weekend this year that ended up being a 22-hour round-trip. It took me 5 hours to drive from Sainte Foy to my house in Seez on that Saturday a couple of years ago.
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Last year the transfer from GVA to La Plagne took 6 hours, and we left GVA after 9pm. Obviously you're heading in the other direction, but traffic that weekend could be a shitshow
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I'll just throw my 3 pence worth in here.

We are regular users of transfers to and from Tignes/GVA. Over the last couple of years, transfers (especially to Geneva) that have either left "reasonably" early in the morning or around lunchtime have taken 5.5 to 6hrs. This seems to have become almost the norm. Often taking 2.5 to 3 hrs just to clear Moutiers.

There's an old thread of mine somewhere on here that chronicles our crazy dash through GVA airport with all our luggage. One other thing that caught out one of our coach drivers' was Annecy Carnival. Worth googling when that takes place.
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@cerbfan, finish packing the night before, be first on the lifts at 9am in the morning, do an hour skiing until 10am, then go up to Grande Motte and all ski back down to the resort together for one last run. Take skis back, change into your travel clothes, pack away your ski gear, jump on the bus at 12 noon and say goodbye to Tignes until next time. snowHead
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A different question: I want to go on the PSB2018 the second week, the 8th December but want to get back to UK by Friday pm, can anyone recommend reasonable ways of leaving Tignes on Thursday pm to get to an airport or train station at a reasonable cost. Have not booked a flight yet so all options open. I'm not sure if trains run on a Thursday, can anyone help?
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@Sparkles, Altibus have not yet loaded their timetable, normally there is one leaves Tignes early afternoon but I cannot remember when thy start the full service. The timetable normally launches in September, midweek flights from GVA should not be ruinously expensive by that stage.

If you want a train then it will be Bourg by bus, then a train to Paris (likely a change at Chambery or Lyon that early in the season) and the Eurostar.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
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I always avoid the roads that day as no matter where you are in the Alps it is a bun fight. It is the busiest transfer day and also the arrival day for many many continentals holiday makers, who aren't going to / from an airport but they are all still on the same roads. There have been so many years when that day has been complete carnage.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
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Met someone there last year who used Blabla car, but she only managed to agree the lift the day before she needed it.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I would go at the time they say.

I have my own place so don't need to deal with all this, but i would rather stick pins in my eyes than even think about travel on that day.

3, 4 and even 5 hours even just to Moutiers is common, and a friend took 17 hours a few years ago (that was unusual though).

Last year, on a non busy Saturday, we left Brev at 430 am to drop our daughter off at Geneva for a 930 flight (she was flying to Bristol for an evening dinner/party, we were driving all the way home to Worcestershire). Just a bit of snow was falling, but by the time we got to Chambery turn off for GVA, it was obvious she wouldn't make that flight. We were in a Disco 4x4 with winter tyres on, but the visibility was so poor we could get the speed up. She stayed with us in the car, and we got her to Bristol on time for dinner lol.

You cannot underestimate the travel times. ONLY if everything is perfect are you looking at 3 hours ish on a bus.

If you really want to ski that Saturday, just change your flights and go home Sunday!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
The Saturday after last Xmas it took me 13 hours to get to Geneva from Tignes, was meant to be a 10:00 am pick up, minibus got to Tignes at 11:30, didn't get to Moutiers until 16:30, coach didn't pick us up until 20:00 got to the airport a little before 23:00 :/
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
One point that may have been missed by some is that Tignes Les Brevieres is about 10 km from Tignes itself, and it is a typical twisty mountain road for the section up to Breviere itself.

I think the transfer company will be dropping you off last and picking you up first. They may swap you from the big bus to a minibus which all adds time.
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TQA wrote:
One point that may have been missed by some is that Tignes Les Brevieres is about 10 km from Tignes itself, and it is a typical twisty mountain road for the section up to Breviere itself.
Eh? You mean, as in 10km closer to the airport, and much nearer the main valley road so less twisty mountain road to negotiate?

TQA wrote:
I think the transfer company will be dropping you off last and picking you up first. They may swap you from the big bus to a minibus which all adds time.

See above - private transfer
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Its almost like the transfer company that Chardons recommended actually knew what they were talking about Very Happy

I dont know how many times you have been to Tignes@cerbfan, but in my 20 odd years of visiting, we have done TO / independent travel / small transfer companies, the lot.

We have had amazingly quick transfers, and we have had horrific transfers. We have driven down the hill easily, we have had nightmares with traffic where idiots dont put snow chains on and hold up the entire hill.

I can tell you exactly when I stopped smoking, as it was in Frankfurt Airport January 2004, en route from Geneva, to London, and then on to Edinburgh at additional cost of £350 per head.........because we missed our easyjet flight by 20 minutes as we left it a touch late to make the drive.

We avoid Geneva and usually do Chambery (in fact we dont travel on a Saturday at all these days) but due to a family bereavement I had to get myself down the hill and through Geneva on Saturday 20th January this year........not that busy a day, you might think?...........bag drop was busy but fine, but Geneva security was the worst I have ever seen it, people crying as they were missing flights, with the biggest queues I have ever seen.

I cant recall how long it took (lengthy), but the only reason I made the flight is that the TO bus I had hitched a lift on left Tignes about 3am for an 10am flight.

In short - if the transfer operator says 12:00, I think that is pretty generous for that particular weekend, they know what they are doing.
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