Long Schiphol Queues

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  • TominScotland

    I am glad this was not just my imagination. Schiphol can be fairy unpleasent if you transit at the wrong time and get caught in their queues



    Indeed, Tom, there were many pics on Dutch social media showing the lengthy queues to clear immigration/security.

    Airlines were advising passengers to check in at least three hours beforehand.

    There has been a growth in passenger numbers partly caused by the abolition of airport tax and partly due to the arrival of the LCCs.


    The trouble is that it is entirely unpredictable. On a good day you are through either an e-gate or a booth in about 2 minutes. On a bad one, it can be dire. E-gates out of action, no fast track for frequent fliers, no separate lines for EU but only ‘all passports’. I’ve seen the queue from Schengen to non-Schengen stretch well beyond the Het Palais cafe. Far worse than anything I’ve experienced at Terminal 5 (and I am no fan of Heathrow). Couple that with the extensive bussing if your flight is on an Embraer, and mine often are, and the long walks and I’ve ceased to be a fan of Schipol. I’ve also abandoned the 40-minute connecting times since it is just too random and stressful as to whether or not you are going to make it.


    Luxembourger – Good point about the 40 mins MCT (50 mins MCT for long-haul).

    MCTs are achievable only in perfect conditions yet some travellers still take them as gospel.

    Then why won’t the airlines/airports devise more realistic MCTs ? It’s all to do with airport rivalry, hub rivalry and airlines wanting better displays in CRSs.


    Schiphol hasn’t been a great airport for a while. It’s not one I’d use if I had a choice. The only plus I can think of is it is possible to transfer from any pier to any other without relying on a transport system – wouldn’t fancy walking from T2 to T5 or from T4 to T2 at Heathrow 🙂

    Having said that, I’ve used Schiphol twice recently and breezed through on both occasions, albeit travelling business class, both early on Saturday mornings, too, at peak times which just shows how unpredictable it is.

    On the other hand, we should be benchmarking airport performance against the best of breeds, such as Munich and Zurich, who are very good.

    Alex, just out of interest, consumers seem often get presented with MCT’s as ‘fait accompli’ by online travel agent systems. I fear they don’t understand what they are buying. The only time I’d take one is when I have lots of time and am covered by EU261 🙂


    I went through Schiphol on 13APR and was appalled at the queues for check-in and security. The worst I have ever seen there. It has made me reconsider using KLM in future as this may become their Achilles Heel.


    Based on a number of bad experiences, I would not check luggage with KLM if the connection at AMS was less than 2 hours. If in transit outwith Schengen, 40 minutes is generally fine with hand luggage only.


    I never transit through AMS, but only ever travel between London/Norwich and Schiphol, and I have to say, I HATE SCHIPHOL WITH A PASSION. 40 minutes to check in luggage with KLM’s poxy baggage machines that 80% of people can’t seem to work, then another hour and a half to get through security and passport control. The queue snaked all the way around to the entrance to security, and it wasn’t even holidays or a particularly busy time. About midday on a Thursday. Add to that the fact that the last three flights I’ve taken into Schiphol have all landed on the Polderbaan, and Schiphol is a grim proposition. Give me Heathrow any day of the week. How is this airport consistently rated so highly? Looking into Rotterdam next time as a possible alternative.


    FDOS – Correct. That’s the feedback we’ve been receiving for years. When I’ve questioned airport people about their unrealistic MCTs they’ve either refused to comment or simply repeat their MCTs to me parrot fashion.

    Europe’s hub airports use MCTs as a marketing tool both for themselves and for their airline customers. They are also I am sure aimed at combating competition from rival hubs in the Gulf for global passenger flows.


    I travel through AMS Schiphol on a regular basis as it is now my home airport (thank you Brexit). Most of the time I find it a very pleasant and relaxed airport with the occasional problem of a long queue. In over 50 visits I have never waited longer than 15 minutes for the security control. Immigration typically takes less than 5 minutes, in or out of the country, even at peak times.
    Yes, Schiphol seems to have more problems with their growth (something like 9% last year) and is likely to see the same growth in passenger numbers in 2017.
    Indeed, many pictures have been published about long lines, especially over the past weekend. But at least they seem to be working on this. Security and immigration personnel is being added within weeks from now and the problem is is being tackled before the summer holidays. Early May a brand new additional check in area has been constructed within 6 months and this added a annual capacity of 2 million passengers. Major expansion projects have started and will be completed in the next couple of years.
    But I don’t see it returning to the laid back Schiphol of 10 years ago, nor to the current state of, let’s say, Dubai.

    As with any of the major hubs we have to accept some discomfort at peak times at this airport. Flying through smaller, regional, airports and using smaller hubs like CPH or MUC might solve some of our first world problems. If only that would be an option.


    I flew from Schiphol on Wednesday afternoon. At around 3.30pm it took about 20 minutes to get through security. It could have been less had all security lanes been open, and it seemed as if everyone was being given the full body search.

    There also seemed to be a shortage of buses for the UK flights from the D6 gate which meant most flights had short delays. My flight to Heathrow took off 45 minutes late after the taxi to the Polderbaan


    I think it is unfair to single out AMS with the q’ing issue. I went through BCN last week and the q’s looked horrendous in the non fast track channels as did ZUR a couple of weeks before.

    Fast Track on the other hand, especially in BCN, was empty. OK, it’s meant to be quick, but I think q’ing for over 30 minutes to clear security is unacceptable.

    What I am finding speeds things up are the body scanners instead of the metal detectors.


    I’m flying into Schipol weekly at the moment. Flew in last night on the BA444 and arrived around 22:00 local. Queue for passports was up the escalators back into the concourse. Must have been at least 200 people waiting to get through. I now have Privium Basic membership which was €121 for the year involved getting a retinal scan. This allowed me to go straight past the crowds and out in less than 60 sec. I was in bed at the Sheraton by the time my colleague had got thorough passports. If you travel regularly, I can’t recommend it enough. Equally useful when getting out of AMS also! Details here: https://www.schiphol.nl/en/privium/


    So why is it that some EU point of entry have E gates and others don’t?

    AMS is not exactly a second division airport & whilst Berlin is certainly a fourth division airport – who decides about E Gates?

    Should not all EU or even European residents have access to E Gates at all European airports.

    After Brexit, I sincerely hope that UK PLC, only allows E Gate entries to those who provide reciprocal arrangements..


    The problems at Schiphol have come as a shock to travellers, especially those based outside Holland, because the Dutch airport has won countless awards over the past decades.

    KLM has responded to a statement issued by Schiphol regarding the lengthy queues.

    KLM’s response is in Dutch. Here is a rough translation:

    “KLM has called on Schiphol management on previous occasions unsuccessfully to take adequate measures [to alleviate the congestion] both as regards the volume of passengers and the capacity situation. The latter means [there must be] timely investment in piers, gates and security … instead of shops and hotels.”

    “The hour-long waits during the May holiday period have been bad and frustrating for all passengers and has cost KLM several million [Euros]”

    “The reputation of airlines, Schiphol and the Netherlands is [now] damaged.”

    “Now finally Schiphol has recognised its shortcomings. But unfortunately this situation had to occur before the Schiphol Board listened to its customers and [decided to] takes action.”

    “Schiphol recognises the problems [it faces]. It is now saying that it will deploy more security staff.”

    “KLM will closely monitor the effective implementation of this and continue to urge [a solution] for the other named bottlenecks.”


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