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Flying out of Schiphol Airport Amsterdam


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My Husband and I spent 2 days trying to get back to the states from Amsterdam after our cruise.We are experience travelers but what we went though was crazy. I am sure many of you have seen the news reports and photos of the congestion at Schiphol. It is worse than depicted. I am opening this topic because we learned a lot during our two day Flight-mare.This post is not about getting compensation or what the Airline should or shouldn't have done or what we should have done, it is a heads up about the process. At Schiphol it takes at least 1/12 to 2 hours to check your bags prior to going through security. Security can take anywhere from 1/2 hour to 5 hours depending on when you arrive at the airport. After security you go to passport control, 5 mins to 45 mins. Gates are far apart and may take time to get to. Although there is a recommendation to get to the Airport 3 hours before your flight if you do that there is a good chance you will miss your plane. Our Flight-mare began with a text.  At 4:00 am we got notice that our original flight was delayed and we were re routed, we would not get home at 6:30pm on June 20 as planned.We were now going to Orlando via Newark and Denver...😳. According to the Airline there was NO other option but at least we would be home by 7:30am on the 21st. We arrived at 5:30am and did not get to the gate until after 9:30am. As we approached the gate ready to use our 18 EURO Delay voucher for Breakfast we got another text that our Flight was canceled but no worry we were assigned another flight Amsterdam to San Francisco to Orlando.  That is when the Flight-mare turned into an episode of the twilight zone. When the flight was canceled we had to walk to another part of the terminal to an information booth. We waited about 2 hours in line for info on the new flight (at the same time we were on the phone with the Airline). Once we met with the agent we were told our bags would NOT be transferred to the new flight. We had to leave the gate, go through passport control to baggage claim to retrieve our bags and get back in line at bag drop to get the new boarding passes and check our luggage. Another trip through security ( because we had proof we had already been through once, we were only in line about two hours, we were later told that the line in the afternoon was about 5 hours) and Passport control got us to the gate about 1 hour before boarding. Unfortunately that flight was canceled. We had to go back though passport control, wait for our bags, wait for vouchers for a hotel and food and finally we left the airport about 9:00 only to be back the next day at 5am to start the process again.  Anyone traveling through Schiphol needs to be prepared for a flight delays cancelations and chaos. Pack light and don't assume the Airline will transfer your bags. (As an FYI when we  arrived in Frankfurt for the start of our cruise and missed a connection due to a flight delay we were also advised to get our bags and transfer them ourselves they could not guarantee they would catch up to us.) 

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Thank you so much for your experience. We'll be flying home out of AMS from our cruise RCI Jewel on 8/7. We've booked DL One departing at 2:30pm. AMS-LAX via SEA. We'll have concierge help to self assist off the ship as one of the first to disembark. We'll take a carryon bag of essentials in addition to our checked luggage just in case. I've read all the horror stories and was hoping things would be better by the time we fly...but it doesn't look good at this point. What airline were you using and was there anything that you would do different after all this?

 

I appreciate you sharing your story...and keeping our fingers crossed....We had a bad experience this past May 1st with AA trying to get home from MCO-LAX via DFW...ended up having to spend the night in Dallas..a nightmare especially as we were traveling with extended family that included our two young grandsons...but I must say they were just amazing through it all.

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I am so sorry for you.

As additional warning: Dutch friends told me, that this is already the preferential treatment for long distance flights. For inner European flights it is supposed to be even worse.

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As Carlmm states, we were treated better than inter European Flights. Those lines were brutal, elderly, families with children and handicapped waiting in line for hours outside of the building. Everyone we spoke to said this is the new normal. Ashland, I wish you luck. I am not sure what we could have done. We left 2 days in advance of the cruise, before we left, we downloaded the Airline App, we made sure there were lots of connecting flights to Basel after ours that were available and asked at the desk when I checked in if the flight was on time. We had SMALL carryons with our meds and a change of clothes and had the emergency contact numbers for the Cruise line Air department and our Trip insurance. We flew over on United Codeshare partner Lufthansa and Back on United. Things we should have done:

 1. PACK LIGHT I never expected to have to transfer our own bags so many times. we were exhausted. (our bags weighed less than 20 lbs ea. but it was still difficult) 2. Add the airlines number to your contacts 3. Prior to calling the Airline to rebook or waiting for the Airline to assign a flight check on line to see what flights are available including  on other carriers so you can request those flights. Many times were told there were no seats and others were put on the flight because they did their research. 4. Ask what the role of the Concierge is and if you used a Travel agent or Cruiseline to book the flight  what will they do for you if this happens. I never expected to be told NOTHING. 5. Eat when you can and always have water with you. 5. Be prepared to wait in line ( thank goodness we have comfortable shoes)

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5 hours ago, LWFM said:

As Carlmm states, we were treated better than inter European Flights. Those lines were brutal, elderly, families with children and handicapped waiting in line for hours outside of the building. Everyone we spoke to said this is the new normal. Ashland, I wish you luck. I am not sure what we could have done. We left 2 days in advance of the cruise, before we left, we downloaded the Airline App, we made sure there were lots of connecting flights to Basel after ours that were available and asked at the desk when I checked in if the flight was on time. We had SMALL carryons with our meds and a change of clothes and had the emergency contact numbers for the Cruise line Air department and our Trip insurance. We flew over on United Codeshare partner Lufthansa and Back on United. Things we should have done:

 1. PACK LIGHT I never expected to have to transfer our own bags so many times. we were exhausted. (our bags weighed less than 20 lbs ea. but it was still difficult) 2. Add the airlines number to your contacts 3. Prior to calling the Airline to rebook or waiting for the Airline to assign a flight check on line to see what flights are available including  on other carriers so you can request those flights. Many times were told there were no seats and others were put on the flight because they did their research. 4. Ask what the role of the Concierge is and if you used a Travel agent or Cruiseline to book the flight  what will they do for you if this happens. I never expected to be told NOTHING. 5. Eat when you can and always have water with you. 5. Be prepared to wait in line ( thank goodness we have comfortable shoes)

Again...Thank you so much for all your shared experience. I'll certainly follow all your tips. We booked directly with DL and am assuming the cruise concierge will aid us in getting off our ship asap. Keeping our fingers crossed we'll eventually make it home.

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We flew to and from Iceland last week (Schengen), on a friday afternoon. Longer lines yes, checking our bags took 30 minutes and the wait for the security filter took another 30 minutes. Coming back on a sunday at noon after collecting our bags (took longer than average) we looked at the check in line which was already snaking outside the temporary tent outside Departures.

 

So it varies, my advice:

 

Be sure to check https://www.schiphol.nl/en/my-travel-day/today for your flights, Schiphol will tell if your day of flight is a busy one. Download their app to get instant notifications on your cell phone, Schiphol and the Port of Amsterdam both have free wifi, the Dutch Railways (NS) ditto.

 

Check in with the airline before you go to Schiphol, use the airline app that way you will have a digital boarding pass so you only have to drop off your bag, use the self service machines if available.

 

I feel sorry for the OP that their flight was cancelled and delayed but bear in mind that those factors are due to other airports or problems with the airline. Airplanes have an average turn around time of 1 to 3 hours between flights (otherwise they are parked at a platform). Once you are passed security and customs (non Schengen flights) and if you are at least 30 minutes pre departure time after all you went through you will make your flight if you keep moving, use the moving walkways and you can get anywhere within 15 minutes of fast otherwise-I-will-miss-my-flight-pace. Schiphol is a one terminal building, pretty much straight forward piers, all information is well indicated.

 

Transfering through Schiphol (Schengen -> non Schengen) takes extra time but those flights originate elsewhere in Europe. The cue at the transfer filter varies a lot but depending on the ammount of transfer passengers.

 

Traveling from Schiphol (and arriving, with understaffed ground workers for the baggage) does take extra time, be prepaired, arriving too early also congests the airport so plan wisely. Good luck to all! :classic_smile:

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One of our traveling group was able to make their flights only because they had expedited check in with their Delta status, which KLM accepts. They felt 4 hours would not have been enough otherwise. One of the ground staff told them that a lot of security staff were out due to COVID, there were only 2 x-ray machines operating in the entire airport security zone. You may want to look into taking the train to Brussels or Paris and then flying out of there the next day if you are able to rebook your flight or haven't yet booked it.

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I just read another post that clearly explains the benefit of using DL Priority. We're flying DL One and I'm now feeling a bit better about making our flight.

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 Here is our departure experience at Amsterdam (Schiphol) airport on July 2.  If you cannot stand or walk for 2+ hours I highly recommend that you ask for wheel chair assistance.  

Our flight was 2:40PM to Boston on Delta/KLM in Comfort Plus. We do not have Sky Priority status.

Left ship at 8:45 and took the worlds fastest taxi to Schiphol . Arrived 9:20AM.  When we arrived we saw long lines of people outside the terminals some under tents. I think these were lines for flights leaving concourse A & B (European flights). Not sure.

Entered the terminal and found  the usual check-in crowds but the KLM woman looked at our ticket and because we were Comfort+ let us in the Sky Priority check in area.  I do know if the ticket was Economy people were being sent to different check in desk lines. Once checked in (the man noted we were 5 hours early but took our luggage) you join another line for security.  This line is split into two: Sky Priority/First/Business (not us) and Comfort+ and Economy (us). A long and slowly moving line will get you to the stairs to get to security.  Scan your boarding pass and then wait in an enclosed area (claustrophobia warning) for your chance to climb the stairs to yet another LONG line just to get to security (think Disney).  At this point people who had 11:30 or even a 12:30 flight realized that they were going to miss it.  Two people nicely asked to skip ahead but in most cases everyone stayed where they were in line. Once thru security there is another very short line to scan your passport and get it physically stamped and finally you are in the gate area. Arrival 11:50AM or 2.5 hours of lines.  Of course you have to get to your gate but once in the gate area all chaos disappears and it seemed almost serene to wander through the shopping opportunities to your gate (ours on concourse F was a 15 minute walk others are much longer). Our flight left 1/2 hour late which gave extra time to board for those who were still caught in the process.  

If you are Sky Priority/First/Business you will still be on lines but they probably are shorter and once in the gate area you can relax in the KLM Lounge.

Bon voyage! Buen viaje! Safe travels.

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Posted (edited)

We are connecting in AMS coming from the US and continuing on to Copenhagen in a few days. Anyone connect thru AMS that can share recent experiences? We have a long layover and we’re hoping to go into city center, but that sounds like a bad idea?

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9 hours ago, Kierste said:

We are connecting in AMS coming from the US and continuing on to Copenhagen in a few days. Anyone connect thru AMS that can share recent experiences? We have a long layover and we’re hoping to go into city center, but that sounds like a bad idea?

How long is a long layover? If more then e.g. 8-10 hours it is doable. However be back 4 hours prior your departure. Your luggage will go all the way to Copenhagen, you can store hand luggage at lockers.  If less hours stay at the airport. Plenty of shops, restaurants and even a small Rijksmuseum.

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9 minutes ago, Ine said:

How long is a long layover? If more then e.g. 8-10 hours it is doable. However be back 4 hours prior your departure. Your luggage will go all the way to Copenhagen, you can store hand luggage at lockers.  If less hours stay at the airport. Plenty of shops, restaurants and even a small Rijksmuseum.


thanks, we have 7 hours, only a backpack for hand luggage and are flying delta sky priority… I know we need to take a proper trip to Amsterdam, but was really looking forward to seeing a little bit of the city during that layover after a 10 hour flight… 

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6 hours ago, Kierste said:


thanks, we have 7 hours, only a backpack for hand luggage and are flying delta sky priority… I know we need to take a proper trip to Amsterdam, but was really looking forward to seeing a little bit of the city during that layover after a 10 hour flight… 

Assuming you are not flying on a weekend (when it can be extremely busy at the airport) it is doable then. Just take a train to Centraal Station, trains leave from downstairs in the arrival hall after luggage pick up). It will take about 20 minutes. Either walk around or make a canal cruise which last for about one hour. Those ships leave from across Centraal Station and sail frequently. Best and easiest way to see the city. 

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How is it flying into Amsterdam? I'm doing that in September & I understand they have a bus that goes to city center - is that correct? My hotel is  a 6 minute walk from a bus terminal

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8 hours ago, victory2020 said:

How is it flying into Amsterdam? I'm doing that in September & I understand they have a bus that goes to city center - is that correct? My hotel is  a 6 minute walk from a bus terminal

There is no real bus terminal. Depending where your hotel is you can take a regular bus or a train. Which hotel or street are you staying? Also Google maps can be a great help.

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8 hours ago, Ine said:

There is no real bus terminal. Depending where your hotel is you can take a regular bus or a train. Which hotel or street are you staying? Also Google maps can be a great help.

I am stayiny at Hotel Wiechman. It's a 6 minute walk from where the 397 bus ends, which I believe is the express from the airport

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1 hour ago, victory2020 said:

I am stayiny at Hotel Wiechman. It's a 6 minute walk from where the 397 bus ends, which I believe is the express from the airport

That is a regular bus, no express, but yes it comes close to your hotel. Most likely you have to gt off at Prinsengracht stop.

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35 minutes ago, Ine said:

That is a regular bus, no express, but yes it comes close to your hotel. Most likely you have to gt off at Prinsengracht stop.

Is that by any chance the last stop? Is there a landmark that I can see that will let me know where to get off? Any info is appreciated

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13 hours ago, victory2020 said:

Is that by any chance the last stop? Is there a landmark that I can see that will let me know where to get off? Any info is appreciated

I checked again, yes you are right. Indeed this bus ends at Elandsgracht which is a short walk to your hotel. So indeed it will be the last stop. When in doubt check with the driver. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

We just flew out of Schipol to Barcelona yesterday and I can tell you our wait in the que was apx 3 hours to get us through Security. Be prepared to stand and stand!  The line moves very slowly at times and sometimes stops. They were handing out cold bottles of water and popsicles!!  Those that had to check luggage spent and additional 1.5 hrs in that line. They were missing flights and some barely made the flight.  Be sure to arrive early. We were not allowed even to get into the area where the line began until about 4hrs ahead of time. Wear comfortable shoes!!

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6 hours ago, mauimary said:

We just flew out of Schipol to Barcelona yesterday and I can tell you our wait in the que was apx 3 hours to get us through Security. Be prepared to stand and stand!  The line moves very slowly at times and sometimes stops. They were handing out cold bottles of water and popsicles!!  Those that had to check luggage spent and additional 1.5 hrs in that line. They were missing flights and some barely made the flight.  Be sure to arrive early. We were not allowed even to get into the area where the line began until about 4hrs ahead of time. Wear comfortable shoes!!

Did you have any priority with the carrier you were flying with?

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Maiumary,

Did you start in Amsterdam or someplace else and just connected? We connect there in less than 3 weeks from our flight from Atlanta. I know we need to go through passport control and possibly more security before our flight to Nurnberg. Just trying to get an idea of the chaos and time in line. We have 10+ hours so not worried about making the connection if it is flying. Thank you.

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2 hours ago, Ashland said:

Did you have any priority with the carrier you were flying with?

No we did not. We were flying on KLM to Barcelona after spending five days in AMS

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1 hour ago, Pearl64 said:

Maiumary,

Did you start in Amsterdam or someplace else and just connected? We connect there in less than 3 weeks from our flight from Atlanta. I know we need to go through passport control and possibly more security before our flight to Nurnberg. Just trying to get an idea of the chaos and time in line. We have 10+ hours so not worried about making the connection if it is flying. Thank you.

We did not connect. We started in Portland OR five days earlier on Delta and then later continued on to Barcelona on KLM after a stay in AMS.  You should not have to start from the beginning. 

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21 hours ago, Pearl64 said:

Maiumary,

Did you start in Amsterdam or someplace else and just connected? We connect there in less than 3 weeks from our flight from Atlanta. I know we need to go through passport control and possibly more security before our flight to Nurnberg. Just trying to get an idea of the chaos and time in line. We have 10+ hours so not worried about making the connection if it is flying. Thank you.

 

You will enter the Schengen passport control and security in the secured area (transfer pax, from Lounge 2 to Lounge 1), although that checkpoint can be very busy it also can be very quiet, depending on the flights/the time of day/number of passengers transfering.

 

The current problems mentioned are the check in lines outside the airport and the security filter feeding into the terminal lounges, for these departing from Schiphol.

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