Europe · Planning

Surviving a transfer at Amsterdam Airport

Originally I wouldn’t have had to set foot in Schiphol airport, but due to the horrible terrorist attacks on Brussels Airport on March 22, Delta Airlines no longer flew my initially booked flight. Instead of transferring in Atlanta International Airport, I’d transfer much closer to home; Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

I was quite happy with this change, even though we only had 50 minutes to transfer flights. First of all, I wouldn’t have to worry during a long flight about catching my connection (Yes, I’m not at ease until I’m sure I’m going to reach my destination), but most of all I wouldn’t have to transfer my own luggage from one flight onto another (thank god!) Fifty minutes seemed plenty of time when you take that last positive note into consideration. I’d be just a passport check and onto the next flight. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy!

But that was without taking in mind that I would have to go from one end of the airport to the entire other side. And let me tell you; Amsterdam Airport was a lot bigger than I expected. Add a ten minute delay of the first flight to that and we suddenly were on a tight schedule.

Luckily, upon arrival at Schiphol there was a lady at our arrival gate to inform us about the gate from which our transfer flight would leave. She also said that we would have to hurry up since that gate was pretty far. Without that information we wouldn’t have hurried as much as we did. We ended up running from Hall B to Hall G which – according to my standard iPhone app – was about 2km away from each other. Say what?

For close connection flights, Schiphol also provides a fast lane for passport control. A screen informs which flights are considered close-connection, so if your flight is on it, you can just move into the – usually – smaller queue. Obviously our flight was on the screen so passport control hardly delayed us. Big plus on organisation.

In case you miss your flight, there are self-service kiosks available on which you can rebook your own flights or find more information.

But we made it. Phew. Now the only thing I’d still had to worry about was my appearance – all red and sweaty – to the person sitting next to me. Thank god I’d stowed a small deodorant bottle in my carry-on.

On the way back home, we also transfered in Amsterdam Airport, but then we had over four hours to explore the airport. There are plenty of souvenir shops and eateries, so you can keep yourself busy for a while. They even have a museum (which was closed at the time we were there, sadly) so I can think of a worse place to transfer.

Anyway, here are some tips in you have to transfer (in a short time) in Amsterdam Airport Shiphol:

  1. Make sure – if possible – you already have the boarding card for your next flight
  2. Check if you can already know from which gate your connection flight leaves, or have a map of the airport with you
  3. Definitely ask information at the airport personnel waiting at your arrival gate.
  4. Check if your flight is on the short-connection screens so you can use the separate lane at passport control
  5. Know that Schiphol is quite big and it can take up to thirty minutes to go from one gate to another.

Even though I didn’t get to see much of the airport the first time, I did get to explore quite a big on the way back home and it’s really a nice airport. Just make sure you have plenty of time and you’ll be fine.





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