Long Schiphol QueuesBack to Forum
I flew the day after the London attacks at Westminster, horrified watching the events.
Simple flight to LCY arrived 2 hours before just in case, and yes Full High Alert security measures were being implemented at the highest level. This was directly due to the previous days events, and subsequent attacks in France over the following days.
This meant at that time, every person going through a full body scanner, but then ALL hand luggage after scanning was having to be manually searched. They at their highest level of security as set by Governments and the EU.
I actually asked one of The Manager standing by if he could enable more staff as they seemed overwhelmed having to search every bag at the Priority Lane that was at a standstill, And he did just that bringing two staff to the lanes. No One could go through the scanners as all luggage was backed up waiting to be manually searched rejected for being cleared.
They have a far greater detailed security process, “palaces” of 20 rows of full body scanners in 3 different areas of the airport, all brand new.
However, automatic gates for immigration are currently suspended so Immigration are making personal checks also at the highest level, in person and examining and inspecting each passport, many with forensic equipment to hand, and you can see them using it.
Presence of the Military Police and army are also significantly up on fast mobiles around the airport.
Blame the current Terrorism and attacks throughout Europe.
After all, The Dutch staff are simply doing their best to keep us safe.
I came through LHR and no such level a few days ago.
I am sure The Dutch have good reason, as busy as it is, and well built to cope with the increase in Passengers many years ahead of most other EU Airports, and their 6 runways!
To Me, regardless of events round The World, The Dutch are strict, professional in Immigration and working to make us safe and not allow certain people in. I see more people being taken for secondary screening than any other Airport Worldwide.
Security suddenly needed more staff, following the London tragic events, and the Dutch and EU Authorities maximised the security searches.
Everyone should allow enough time and yes 3 hours if required, and not allow the Violence against our cities and people, to wind us up, as it does affect us in our travels. In this way we pay the cost for such events, but this is the reality of the day as we travel.
It is not Schiphol’s fault, nor inadequate Immigration, or The Dutch or EU wanting to carefully control those in and out of the EU, and be ready to prevent further attacks on us all. KLM and the Airlines are waiting for people and ding their best also. I am re-assured to see such tight professional security at Schiphol.3 May 2017
More security staff being deployed and two new security lanes added in Departures Hall 2.
CEO Jos Nijhuis said that “The process at the airport is comparable to the inner workings of a mechanical watch. For optimal efficiency, it is crucial that all cogs fit perfectly. If one of the cogs comes to a halt, this has an immediate impact on the overall result.”4 May 2017
We’ll have to wait and see if this solves the problem.
On the other hand: I wish every airport takes such swift action after some complaints at particularly busy days.
Adding check in facilities for 2 million passengers annually within 6 months, assessing the queuing situation and now adding extra personnel: impressive. And all parties, airport, immigration and airlines, involved seem to keep working together.
Schiphol airport saw the passenger numbers grow 9.2% last year and is experiencing the same growth in 1Q17. Mighty popular place it seems, but such growth must be quite difficult to manage properly.4 May 2017
@MarcusGB – I think Amsterdam airport are partly responsible for the Q’s.
Its all very well offering a paid for fast track scheme, but why on earth are there no E Gates for EU passengers.
AMS/Berlin – German and Dutch passengers EXPECT E Gates in London, I think UK passengers into AMS and Berlin, should expect reciprocal arrangements.4 May 2017
The point about raising security levels after an atrocity confuses me somewhat!
Horses and stable doors pops to mind
More a display of reassurance rather than prevention. My solution to this is simple..Ditch express /premium lanes. Make everyone suffer and I’ll guarantee that those with influence who can afford to by pass the chaos currently will demand change.
And in the case of Schiphol you’re talking about Dutch government ministers and business leaders. If there is another country anyway in the world that is more dependant on its primary airport to prop up its economy than the Netherlands I’d love to know!4 May 2017
Icenspice +1 Martyn, there are plenty of E-gates. I use them all the time and I’m not referring to Privium, the paid for service.
Canucklad, airports, like any infrastructure are important to any country. The Dutch look after their assets! Not sure Schiphol airport is more important to the Dutch economy than LHR for the UK. The approach to these similar pieces of infrastructure seems to differ immensely. I tend to favor the Dutch approach here.4 May 2017
The last time I entered Netherlands via AMS, I went to a small arrivals hall which resembled the turnstiles of a football ground. No E Gates but there was a Privee gate. This was Jan/Feb of this year. It was awful…. took over 40 minutes to pass through.5 May 2017
Sorry, perhaps i was not clear about Schiphol Electronic Passport readers lanes.
They were all installed when the last refurbishment and adding of a floor level to most of the airport was completed last year.
For D terminal, there is a Sky Priority access for Business and Skyteam travellers. These lead to two Security lanes with full body scanners, in and out in 5 seconds.
There are approx 8 other lanes that can be used for all other passengers that come from the opposite entrance, and when one is less busy, people are directed to the next available lane. It normally works perfectly, and thoroughly.
However, at the time of travel, it was 24 hours after the Westminster Lone Terrorist attack.
Hence, Schiphol went to their highest alert as set by the EU, Dutch Government, and Police / Military Services went to the highest alert.
I was told at the time in great detail by the Manager and stressed staff, as EVERY bag even though we went through body scanners, and our items in the box through the belt scanner, had to be manually checked inside. It took 20 minutes to wait after a clear body scan for every bag to be manually searched.
The Privium system (Paid for eye scanner lane), was closed and turned off.
The other side, the 6 E gates that work twice the pace of London’s, were closed and had barriers, and every person went through EU or outside EU, Military Police (In Black uniforms) or Immigration officers (In Blue Uniforms) to have passports checked. This was being done passports scanned into by their computer system, the Immigration officer with an ear piece in to communicate with the Senior Immigration Officer staff for any query. Each also have a magnifier that fits the eye, to examine forensically pages, entries paper etc. This at the first counter you go to. This is common, done through the year- easily you see this. There are also Interpol links to the their check system they use, and others Worldwide.
I know of no other country Worldwide that is so thorough.
Behind them, was a Senior Officer who co-ordinated secondary checks, who called out an allocated officer to come collect the person to take them to the offices. All with ear piece communication links. All very efficient and normal. All counters were manned, and as normal when queues build up, the other Officers come out from inside the Immigration Officers and open Counters.
But these officers had a huge workload, as the E gates were not functioning. They were also told to forensically examine all passports that had not been through there before, outside the EU, and suspicious looking ones from within the EU.
They were on High alert.
I know from a friend who is a Senior Miltary Immigration Officer, and also another who is one of the Directors of Operations within Schiphol.
I have no problems with any of this, considering everyone was quite shocked by the previous days events, reminded as we were on approach to LCY, and the KLM Embraer’s Sharp turn over an empty Westminster Bridge, blocked off, with Police and security tight. With an Orange setting sun behind us, it was really a profound Sight, and very sad.
However, extra security officers are being recruited and more on call for the future as Schiphol have identified. When did London respond so quickly, airport or Authorities?
There was no such measures in London, at any airports.
I continue to enjoy Schiphol and travels through there quite a few times a month for both short and long haul travel. It remains one of the most well run Airports in Europe, and The World, and shows as the most responsive, thorough, and well run.
The UK Government make no such efforts, and neither does LHR!5 May 2017
Schiphol has got so bad lately, going to fly through Rotterdam next time and see if that is any better.
I just got back from Kiev after Eurovision, with every flight completely full, and that was a far more pleasant experience that Schiphol.
I am sure it’s great if you have Sky priority, as check in desks are always empty, as are the priority security lanes. But paying £500 for a 35 minute flight to/from Norwich just to get fast-track, is somewhat ambitious, which means the normal queues for us, and that means delays, with people not being able to use the baggage drop machines, hour long queues at security, and 45 minute queues at immigration.
I like and respect the Dutch enormously, and find their infrastructure generally flawless, but when it comes to Schiphol it has just outgrown itself several times over, and is always an unpleasant experience.19 May 2017
Interesting explanation for our 75 minute delay EDI-AMS tonight – shortage of baggage handlers to load the flight at Schipol. For the many folk who missed connections and have to stay overnight (not me), is this delay KLM’s responsibility or an act of God?29 May 2017
You and I must have been on the same flight. The reason was given as ‘a severe shortage of baggage handlers’ or something like that. A look at the screens on arrival at Schipol showed it was far from being just that flight that had suffered. Since Monday wasn’t a holiday in Holland, they can hardly blame that.
My total delay from missing my connecting flight came to 9hrs 30 mins. Apart from the (never wanted) hotel room, total cost to KLM was a choice between (a) 10 euro discount at participating bars or restaurants (unusable in practice), (b) 2000 air miles (sounds generous but worth very little in the real world) or (c) 15 euros off inflight tax free goods (worthless). Not a cheep about EU 261, either from KLM staff at Schipol or on the texts and emails they sent me, which suggests they are going to try and blame it on the airport. Since that’s not going to be a valid defence, I’m going to take it up if only for the insult.30 May 2017
When Brussels was closed following the terrorist attacks I used Schipol a few times and what surprised me was how difficult it was to predict the delays, some days bad – others good but with what looked like the same flights and circumstances. I have always found Schipol a very ‘cold’ airport, lacking in human warmth.30 May 2017