Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam
I could have put this under 'Schiphol', because it is a settlement in its own right, but as I've only ever set foot outside the airport terminal it didn't seem fair to say I'd visited Schiphol!
I must admit that Schiphol is one of the nicest airports I've ever used. It's clean, it's bright, the staff are cheery and pleasant with (of course) excellent English. It's the only airport I've come across which has a little museum airside (a tiny branch of the Rijksmuseum, with an exhibition of around 20 paintings) and a small library (English language books as well as Dutch books, comfortable seating).
It also has umpteen places to eat and shop. I particularly recommend the Dutch Pantry, near the Rijksmuseum. It serves fresh, and freshly-cooked, Dutch standards such as uitsmijter and has excellent fruit smoothies...and, for an airport, its prices are very reasonable.
There's a rather good children's play area which, when I passed by, seemed to have many children enthusiastically playing whilst their supervising parents were passed out from exhaustion on the comfortable seating just outside.
There are smoking areas (enclosed cubicles) available airside, although several are inside bars. Whether you must buy a drink before using those I do not know, but I suspect no-one notices or cares.
And there are interesting bits of artwork dotted around.
Schiphol airside is enormous so, if you wished, you could spend your layover time getting lots of exercise simply walking around it.
But there is one thing of which you should be aware: security does not happen immediately before or after passport control. It happens at the entrances to the various piers (e.g. B and H gates) and, in some cases, at the gates themselves. Whilst security screening at the gates themselves shouldn't cause much of a problem, other than having to queue up, security at the entrance to a whole series of gates can potentially cause you big problems.
In my case, I almost missed my 2010 flight because the security queue at H gates suddenly became very long indeed when flights for those gates all showed up on the departure lounge boards at the same time.
And, when changing planes in 2013, it took me 15 minutes just to get through border control and security at the entrance to B gates.
Some gates are a pretty long walk from the start of their pier (up to 10 minutes) although there are travelators to help.
So be aware of that aspect of Schiphol. Don't leave it too late to get to your gates or you may well miss your flight entirely. Judging by the number of announcements for missing passengers I've heard each time I've passed through, this is a very common problem.
Apart from that issue, and the fact that the airport is presently (2015) undergoing quite a lot of restoration and refurbishment, Schiphol airport is really very pleasant place to spend a layover of a few hours, although if you have 4 or more it might be worth whizzing into Amsterdam on the train (the journey takes less than 20 minutes) for a quick look round.
How come I haven't written a Schiphol review before?
I've passed through countless times.
Yesterday I did it again. I arrived at lunchtime from Edinburgh on easyJet. I left in the evening with KLM for Munich.
Arrival was mostly painless. My bag was on the carousel almost as I arrived there.
Passport control had been OK, eventually. Someone jumped the EU citizen queue I was in and I don't think she had a passport never mind an EU one. I moved to the back of the next queue, and it was quick enough.
Bad drop for the KLM flight is automatic. It seems to need just as many folk to help bewildered passengers as it would for them to sit at a desk and do it themselves.
Plenty good catering places airside.
It's a huge place these days, so tiring to get around.
I had, in my opinion, undertaken due diligence and planned my trip to Amsterdam flying in from Glasgow to Schiphol. I had checked the website to check that trains were accessible and the costs of a ticket. The planning was contrary to the experience.
On arrival at the train station at Schiphol I purchased my tickets. They were a Euro dearer than anticipated (no big deal). We headed for the appropriate platform iwhich is accessed via a lift to a lower level. To ensure my disabled wife could access the train with her wheelchair I approached a representative of the rail company. He said "We do not deal with wheelchairs on weekends. That is the responsibility of "Assistcom" or something else. Go back upstairs and find them. We do not provide this service". A bit abrupt I thought. We re-entered the busy throng upstairs and lookked, generally in vain for a sign indicating the service. Finally, just beside the information box is a small pillar marked "Disabled assistance" (not easily seen fro afar) where you press a button to speak to someone on an intercom (difficult to hear on a busy airport concourse). They ask "Have you booked?" and act surprised that you have not previously arranged assistance (even although you are a tourist and don't know nay better). After 15 minutes they contact you via the intercom that assistance will arrive an hour later. So much for catching the first available train. Assistance finally arrived (60 minutes later) and was hassle free from that point on to the train. There was no ramp when we arrived at Amsterdam Central (which did cause concern) but we managed to commandeer a ramp used to allow a passenger onto the train (just as well or we where would we have ended up?). But why should disabled passengers have to be delayed over 75 minutes to board a train?
To save hassle on our return journey we thought we should "book" our wheelchair assistance in advance before leaving the station. We queued at the Information centre who took down all the details for our planned returned journey only to come back with a leaflet in Dutch (I don't speak Dutch) indicating a phone number to call. So much for trying to plan ahead. At this point we have not tried contacting the number or pre-booking assistance. We are too shagged out at the lack of timely assistance encountered thus far. We will try to arrange things in advance but fingers crossed! So much for help and assistance for disabled passengers using trains in Holland! Not a good start.
When we got to the airport, we found the SAS desk and checked our bags, and walked to the Assistance desk and got a wheelchair for my granddaughter to push. Then we shopped (my granddaughter bought herself some perfume) and we went to Burger King for lunch.
At the gate, another lady was there on a cart (the ones that they zip around the airport in, and they took our wheelchairs down to the door of the plane (on a VERY long ramp) so we could get on first. My granddaughter said she wanted to sit by the window. We had been given 25 A and C and there was no B so we were together. They sold snacks and drinks, but she just drank the coke she had bought in the airport.
Apparently, Schipol Amsterdam was rated the best airport in Europe. I must say I quite agree with that so far. The airport offers good shopping and eateries for transiting passengers like me.
However, if you have to go through immigration (entering Europe), expect long queues!
Airports, usually just places to pass through, but here at Schiphol, they have created a pleasant atmosphere where you come to shop at one of several shopping areas that are included within the airport. The main bus station and train stations are attached also so getting there is usually not a problem.
One point about Schiphol as an airport, take a look at the maps, the airport is built in a huge crescent shape, the departures on the inside and the arrivals on the outside, with the shopping and lounge areas connecting it all.
There is also a function that shows the walking time between points, this is IMPORTANT because of the size, it can take 20 minutes to walk from side to side, or even more if you walk slowly. Take this into account if you arrive on one side of the airport and have a flight leaving from the other side in 30 minutes....
During your layover at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport you can easily visit Amsterdam. I booked a tour at Great Amsterdam Excursions. It was pefectly organized: they picked me at the gate and brought me back to the airport before my next flight. Instead of hanging around the airport I visited Amsterdam and had a great time.
We flew out of Toronto's Pearson International Airport. We booked a flight on Air Transat which we have used many times over the years. For the two of us we paid $1470.52 CDN which is a very good price. We departed on a Wednesday evening and arrived at SCHIPHOL AIRPORT the following Thursday morning. As our flight to Ohrid Macedonia was not until early Friday morning, we stayed overnight at the IBIS Amsterdam Airport.
Our flight was very good - very little turbulence and even the food was pretty good - so kudos to Air Transat.
Gotta love Schiphol - it's like a small city with so much to offer - even a museum and a casino.
Sorry, I can't altogether agree with the gentleman who stated that "I think if you were going from the furthest arrival to the furthest departure you could do it in about 30 minutes". If all you had to do was cover the ground, I'm sure that would be right. However, we found that, contrary to his experience, we had to go through passport control despite the fact that we were travelling between EU countries and weren't setting foot outside the terminal building. Why? On the outward leg, there was a long queue. On the return journey, there wasn't - luckily, as we only had about 35 minutes. However, we then had to queue for check-in, at which there 3 members of staff. One clearly didn't have a clue what she was doing and was having to be assisted by the second. Between them, they managed to process passengers at a rate of about one every 5 minutes, leaving the third woman to do all the work. The queue moved at a snail's pace and people were getting more and more frazzled. We then had to go through security, again, having already been cleared in Berlin. Again, why? We'd never been out of the terminal and our luggage was being transferred direct to our connecting flight. Surely you can't get airside in Schipol without first passing through a security check, or do they just let anyone wander in off the street? I'm sure they don't, so this, frankly, is pointless hassle when people have never left a controlled environment. We made it to the plane with about 5 minutes to spare, and this was all within the same terminal. In my view, the application of some common sense would make the transfer process considerably easier without creating any additional risk.
Schiphol Airport is very big airport , they have a nice dutyfree that you can buy when going out from the airport also.
The airport is very big but still very organized.
Outside the airport you will find buses , trains , taxis.
I took a bus to the hotel - it was the fast and cheap.
Transavia have daily flights from Málaga to Ámsterdam Schiphol, the flight takes 2 hours and 45 minutes. They offers sándwiches, drinks, chocolates after pay an amount. As entertaiment they showed two chapters of the tv serie Friends and 2 man and a half. The staff is friendly all time.
Transavia tiene vuelos diarios desde Málaga al aeropuerto de Amsterdam Schiphol, el vuelo tarda 2 horas y 45 minutos. Durante el vuelo te ponen un capitulo de la serie Friends y otro de la serie 2 hombres y medio. Tienen un pequeño catalogo para comprar bocadillos, bebidas, chocolatinas, etc.
I did not have the right card (no european chip in my debit or credit cards) so had to go to the far left of the station when you come up from the baggage claim---there is a person at a counter which will take our credit cards and give you tickets to get to Central Station in Amsterdam. It is 4.20 each way with a return ticket for when you need to come back to the airport. (2nd class---I guess 1st class has a little more leg room or something). They will tell you which platform to go to, and when you get on the train, you can stow your bag nearby between seats, or in the area before you get to the seats...just keep an eye on them...you can go up or down to the seats----when you get to Central Station (sometimes after a few stops in between) just follow the crowds until you get out in the air and then on to your destination via tram, bus, or your feet (my usual way of getting around!)
Departing from Schiphol a few days ago we had a 2 hour delay and went up to the viewing area. It was great, able to see take offs and landings as well as visit the reasonably priced (for Amsterdam) Aviator restaurant.
Good place to visit if you have a wait.
The airport for Amsterdam and the whole of the Netherlands - surprisingly very provincial by English standards. Dutch TV shows an advertisement with three women going shopping in the Schipol shopping centre - it must have taken them all of 40 minutes and they have clearly never been to Bluewater or Meadowhall or similar shopping centres in England. The shopping really is a disappointment - there are not many shops and for English people very expensive. The best way to kill time waiting for a flight is to watch planes depart and arrive from the viewing area or go for a meal - there is a good choice of places to eat.
VT member pieter_jan_v has a very good Schipol section on his Amsterdam pages and perhaps I missed something but writing honestly I do not think this large airport has shopping that matches the hype that surrounds it and it is also quite basic in design. However the staff are helpful and friendly and it is easy to find your way around. Trains stops underneath the airport and there seems to be adequate parking.
I was impressed with Schipol Airport. It is one of the busiest in the world, but doesn't seem crazy and overcrowded. They seem well organized and orderly. I had a couple hours between flights both times I've stopped over and found plenty to keep me occupied during my layovers. I sat in one of the bars and had a real Heinneken draught for once! There are also plenty of food kiosks and stores of all types in the concourses.