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Schiphol Airport - Amsterdam


GrannyLala

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DH went online to the airport website, and it stated that for international passengers to arrive 3 hours before the flight. Is this really accurate?:confused:

 

If not, what do you suggest?

 

Hello, this is accurate, this for security checks, but it is a very nice airport

after customers you will find a lot of nice shops and restaurants, so time will pass, I now for you its not normal.

 

(I come to Florida next October Vero Beach, You are staying in Holland ??)

 

Greet Toos

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DH went online to the airport website, and it stated that for international passengers to arrive 3 hours before the flight. Is this really accurate?:confused:

 

If not, what do you suggest?

 

In my experience, the biggest delays at Schiphol are at the gate, at least for transatlantic flights. You have to go through a brief interrogation ("Did anyone help you pack your bags?" etc.) in the gate area, followed by al metal-detector and X-ray routine, and the security line can be horrendous unless you're a business-class passenger or elite frequent flier. So yes, I'd suggest getting to the airport at least three hours early, just to minimize standing in line for gate security.

 

Note: Once you've gone through security at the gate, you're stuck in a holding pen (more politely termed a "departure lounge," I suppose) until boarding time. But the holding pen does have seating and toilets.

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There is no airport anywhere that I've been, that I would rather spend 3 hours in than Schiphol.

It was voted the best airport in the world by the Canadian travel agents.

You can shop to your hearts content, visit a museum and even go gambling while there.

You might even wish that you had more than 3 hours..... :)

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Once you go through security and into the pen, you are stuck. Not all the holding pens have toilets available in them. Also, the seating is limited and with every passenger being stuck there the crowding is not fun. None of the airports amenities are available to you . . . nothing to drink and no room to pace. Think twice before getting on line for the screening.

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Having recently passed through AMS, a couple of thoughts.

 

I would say that you should be there at least 2 hours before your departure, and the 3 hours is not unreasonable. There are strict cut-off times when checking in, and the lines can be long unless you have elite status or are in the front of the plane. Depending on the airline, there may be only one or two check-in positions for your flight - think processing 200+ people plus baggage, along with document checks for passports/visas - you get the picture. OTOH, you might have a smooth fast check-in. You don't mention an airline or route, so I can't help more specifically.

 

Once in the secure area, you will find a number of things to do - I highly recommend visiting the airport branch of the Rijksmuseum. From the Schiphol website:

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam Schiphol

The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam Schiphol is located on Holland Boulevard, in the area behind the passport control between the E and F Pier. The museum is open every day from 7:00 until 20:00 and admission is free. It houses a permanent exhibition of ten works by Dutch masters of the Golden Age from the Rijksmuseum's collection. The temporary exhibition changes a number of times a year.

Definitely worth the stop, plus there is a nice museum shop next to the museum. The museum itself is on a kind-of split level between the main floor and the mezannine. Look up for a "yellow box" above ground level.

 

The casino, on the other hand, is a terrible idea. Lousy odds, with rules EXTREMELY favorable to the house. Better to spend your money in the shops.

 

The info about the holding pens and secondary gate screening is all accurate. There is the verbal screening (usually 1-3 agents doing this processing, and it takes a minute or two per passenger), then you hand over your boarding pass (just like at the jetway in the USA) and a complete metal-detector plus x-ray screening. The liquid ban is strictly enforced at this point, so no water bottles. I saw a fellow lose a couple of bottles of booze that he had bought at a prior airport before AMS -- they were NOT allowing duty-free purchases made at airports before AMS to pass screening. Also, drinks bought in the secure area are not allowed. Once in the pen, you are in the pen. So use your own judgment on the timing to get into the line and into the gate area. If you are early, you'll have a seat and lots of sitting around time. If later, you waste less time but might be standing waiting for boarding. Your choice.

 

All in all -- GOOD MOVE checking the AMS website. It has a ton of information and should provide you with all the details you need before your flight.

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Flyer Talker

I'm puzzled by your use of the term "secure area." We did not go through any security until the gate and the cattle pen. Are some terminals secure while others not? We were in "G," for what that might be worth.

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I use that for the passenger only areas of the airport. Airside vs landside. You go through security screening to get into the Schengen area, and at the gates in the non-Schengen. It is "secure" in that only pax are allowed and you must pass passport control for non-Schengen area.

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Thank you for all of the helpful tips. We are flying US Air, possibly terminal G. Does that make any difference?:)

 

That is non-schengen. So first checkin, go through pasportcontrol etc., you can shop around in the taxfree-shops, , visit the museum etc and report later (but not too late) at the gate, where you go through security etc., before you enter the actual waiting-area. (Which indeed by then will be rather full.)

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