Are you planning your winter trip to Europe? Depending on your final destination, it’s very likely that your flight might transit through Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. It would be in your best interest to find an alternative route at this time, as Schiphol Airport is in the midst of utter chaos.
Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is the main international airport of the Netherlands. It is the third-largest airport in Europe and a major air traffic hub. It is home to the Netherlands national carrier KLM, Royal Dutch Airlines.
In 2021, Schiphol was the fourth busiest airport in Europe after Istanbul, Moscow, and Paris. It welcomed over twenty-five million travelers as they made their way to various European destinations. As much as this sounds, it was down almost sixty-five percent on 2019 figures, but still, it was on its way to recovering from the devastating effects of the pandemic on air travel.
Schiphol has always been considered one of Europe’s most efficient and traveler-friendly airports.
So what went wrong? Why is it now referred to as a ‘crazy mess’?
Travelers caught amid this ‘crazy mess’ face lengthy security queues, often winding their way outside the terminal under tents. Travelers are becoming increasingly frustrated and angry as they wait for hours and consequently miss their connecting flights. Luggage is lost or delayed, and the situation seems to deteriorate daily.
Many major airlines are frustrated by the situation, and KLM is far from happy with the operation issues it faces. During the busy summer months, Air Malta, TUI, and Transavia opted to move their flights to other airports to ensure a smoother travel experience for their passengers.
The main cause of this chaos is massive staff shortages in all areas, from cleaners to security personnel to ground crew. There is no doubt that the Covid pandemic has stricken the entire travel industry, and we have seen similar chaos at London’s Heathrow Airport over the summer months. However, while some airports have managed to sort out their issues, Schiphol continues to spiral out of control, and its reputation is in tatters.
Poor management and the refusal to increase staff wages have led to strikes and walk-outs with no end to the ongoing problems.
What can the traveler do?
If you are traveling to Europe this fall or winter, what can you do to avoid this chaos? It seems an obvious step to avoid Schiphol at all costs. Choose an alternative Dutch airport, such as Rotterdam or The Hague. Brussels Airport in Belgium is a short train trip away.
Train travel in Europe is a great option, and you can avoid airport madness.
If you are flying in from the U.S., find a flight that transits at Frankfurt or Paris, for example.
If you have no other option than to take your flight from Schiphol, then be prepared. Check the airport’s website for up-to-date news on delays, cancellations, and waiting times. Follow the Schiphol Facebook group. It has current updates on all issues that might affect your travels.
Some other strategies suggested by the Facebook group are to avoid travel over the weekends as Friday to Monday seems to be the most crowded with the longest queues. Bring your drinks and snacks, and try to travel with a cabin bag only. Avoiding checked luggage means you don’t need to worry about your bags getting lost.
Schiphol promises to compensate travelers for missed flights and other costs incurred due to the long delays. As an added precaution for future compensation claims, take a photo of yourself that shows the actual time you arrived at the airport.
In the end, try to stay calm and be as prepared as possible. Hopefully, we can see a return to smooth travels soon, but maybe don’t hold your breath.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com