Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam
Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport is modern and easy to navigate. You'll find all kinds of overpriced shops and bars and a clean and efficient atmosphere. The lines for international departure can be a bit slow and long, so be sure you allow yourself enough time to catch your flight. The best way, in my opinion, to reach the city or to get from the city to the airport is by train. The embarcation point and arrival point is in Central Hall which is near key airport gates. The trip to and from Centraal Station only costs 3.10 Euros (February of 2004).
For those who come from afar, the International Airport of The Netherlands: Schiphol, is the gateway to enter our country and especially the capitol Amsterdam. More information on my special "Schiphol-page", but here I want to mention the luck you might have by arriving on route and fly over Amsterdam. This is a truely amazing sight and the best welcome you can ever imagine. Approaching Schiphol from the North-East you will have a magnificent view of the canal-rings of Amsterdam. For those who miss it, well, underneath here is a aireal photograph.
Schiphol Airport (AMS) is located about 14km, or 9 miles from the center of Amsterdam. It is one of the busiest airports in Europe, as it is a hub for many major airlines. There are a few options in regards to getting to and from the airport to the city center. Some hotels in and around Amsterdam offer free or cheap buses to and from the airport. Check with your particular hotel to see if they offer this service. Cabs between the two take about 20-25 minutes, but can be a little pricey, around 30-35 Euros. The train, which is the cheapest and in my opinion the best option, runs to and from Centraal Station every 10-25 minutes, and will cost anywhere from 3-6 Euros each way depending on the class. Welcome to Amsterdam! :)
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.
Schiphol Airport is a major hub airport into Europe. From here you can catch a train directly to Centraal Station.
The airport is one of the best if you have a long layover. It has everything including a casino in its departure area.
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 would notice or care.
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 a flight because the security queue at H gates became very long indeed when several flights for those gates showed up on the departure lounge boards at the same time.
And, when changing planes recently, 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. 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 heard during my layovers of several hours each way, this is a very common problem.
Apart from that issue, 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.
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....
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.
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 of Amsterdam is no doubt the second best airport i have ever been to, after Dubai International Airport - UAE. It's HUGE and the facilities provided on this airport are excellent.
After reaching the airport, you need not to worry. Simply take a underground metro to the Amsterdam city. It will cost you around 6 Euros return ticket to and from Schipol airport. Metro takes just 20 mins to reach the city.You can find the metro station when u will come out from arrivals and follow the signs going outside the airport. You will reach a big hall and there is the Metro Timetable and elevators going to the plateform.
If you do not want to travel on Metro then you can either take a Taxi or a Conection Bus. Taxi will cost you aroudn 30 Euros and will take 25-45 mins, depending on the traffic. Whereas connection bus number 172, runs regular service between the airport and the Amsterdam Central Railway Station.
Getting to Schiphol is a relatively easy experience, particularly if you are coming from a place that doesn't have any train/airport connections whatsoever. The airport here has been rightfully commended for making it possible to take a direct train from the center city which arrives quite close to the check-in counters. That said, a person flying out of Schiphol will still want to leave plenty of time to navigate through the station concourse - it can be a little difficult to figure out exactly which escalator to use, and your check-in desk might be at the opposite end of the terminal - as mine was.
I was booked for the first KLM/Northwest flight to Detroit - leaving at 8.00. Unfortunately, due to difficulties with transportation in the city - and a delayed train - I wasn't able to get to Schiphol until a little before 6.00. I really felt rushed and uncomfortable. My advice would be to try to get a later flight if at all possible!
Schiphol Airport is easy to get around in. I was concerned about having only 65 minutes to change flights from Lisbon to Cincinnati but found it a breeze. One thing that helped was that our arriving flight was on time but getting from one side of the airport to the other was only about a 20 minute walk. I think if you were going from the furthest arrival to the furthest departure you could do it in about 30 minutes. We even had time for a restroom stop and then picked up a “to go” cup of coffee. For a really good look at the layout visit their excellent website. Also, the airport is well signed so that it is easy to find whatever you are looking for.
As our flights were both outside the Netherlands we did not have to go through passport control, but I think even if you do, it is not a long process. Also I do not really know about Shengen regulations for people traveling between these countries but they seem to have everything very well and efficiently organized.
I scanned the airport map in the photo from their Airport Guide, but the same charts (easier to read) are on their website.
If I can avoid flying on my travels I'll do so but when I do fly I appreciate a good airport. They don't come much better than Schiphol!
Schiphol is the Netherlands main airport, about a 20 minute train journey from Amsterdam, and is also a main rail nexus from which the rest of the country is easily accessible. However, apart from being a major travel intersection the airport also manages to be a destination in its own right with its shopping mall, bars and restaurants and even the buzzy outside concourse.
As a functional airport Schiphol excels in its efficiency, speed of transfer, relative lack of queues and general ease of use. As a social airport it also excels and quite often I make a point of arriving for my departing flights that bit earlier purely to enjoy a few beers and a bite to eat on the landside before going through to airside.
When the weather is good the outside terraces of the cafes are a pleasure (and especially to watch the arriving flight attendants in their uniforms - does it for me all the time ;)). On colder days I enjoy the Dakota Bar on the top floor of Terminal 1 (and the staff there wear uniforms too ;)). But dirty old man stuff aside, Schiphol, like Amsterdam itself, has something for everyone - culture, shopping, eating and drinking and everything else you could require from a world class airport.
AND it even has its own VT page! First link is PJ's excellent, informative and amusing page. Second is the official link.