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Why Travelers Should Avoid Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport At All Costs Right Now

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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.

schiphol airport

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.

klm plane tails

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.

woman walking with suitcase

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.

passengers going through security at airport

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.

people standing in line

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.

schiphol airport sign

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.

stack of luggage

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

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Thursday 14th of December 2023

You fail to go the root of the problem. Staff shortages due to the COVID situation, well... But WHY exactly are there these staff shortages on all levels? Shouln't people be looking for work? Why are there no people available for these jobs? What do the people who used to do these jobs do now? Where are they?


Sunday 16th of October 2022

I travel through Schiphol between USA and Sweden 16-20 times a year, and have been doing so for the last 4 years. The changes I seen in the delays is not so much staffing. There is always plenty on staff there. However, one big loss is at the border control between the EU/Schengen area going outside Europe. They have all these automated biometric machines where one can have the passport checked, BUT, they are never open. Why? Instead they have a couple or 3 passport police manually checking everyone and the lines grow long. As a traveler seeing this it’s like one feels someone wants disruption. If you have the tools. Use them. Another, not so big problem, but still adding up to the security is all the people who has a few hours of layover that is no longer allowed to smoke or vape in a smoking lounge. They have to go through customs and go outside, smoke/vape and then again go through security again. If they come from outside Europe their boarding card bar code may not be accepted at the security gate, hence they must go to check in service and get a new one. This causes disruptions too. Schiphol is just short of 28 million square meters and they can’t find a few little areas for people to smoke or vape? Seriously? If you can’t let them do it inside. Then at least build some balcony where they can go outside without having to do the whole security thing.


Sunday 16th of October 2022

Just there yesterday and all good. Yes there is a crowd for the security line but its all good. Keep moving and not stuck at all.. 30mins max for it to pass. Passport control was quick too. I guess the press made it look worst but the fact is not. I regreted to get in too quick though, because Schipol has changed so much. Very little bar & cafe after the passport control, and no more smoking area too. So for the smoker will be a very stressful few hours. My suggestion is, as long as you've done check-in.. security is not a big problem anymore. But ofcourse take precaution to always check upon the travel season. As now october - november, the high season for Dutch is coming so better be prepared and come early. Good luck Travellers.

Colin M

Sunday 16th of October 2022

Transferring there last week, 3weeks before travel, KLM canceled the return UK flight and with everything else booked we had no option but to get the next flight 8 hours later, 9 1/2 hours in an airport as the booked Yotel shut whilst we were mid flight with plumbing issues, Starbucks had a 45min queue, 2 staff, McDonald's had carrot sticks as the only available breakfast option. Toilets were either shut or foul, come boarding the gate changed mins before opening so crew and Pax had a E53 to opposite wing trek. Absolutely poor from start to finish.

Gemima Mcguinness

Sunday 16th of October 2022

@Colin M, It’s happened to me I travelled from Ghana to Amsterdam and as we got there the queue was horrendous the flight left no information was given and I have to wait at the airport for 10 hours before getting the next flight home in Birmingham I was so frustrated I got in touch with them by WhatsApp or they can say is they can’t help me at the moment and good luck for my next flight


Saturday 15th of October 2022

Been through here 3 times in the last 2 months. issues, quick line, quick security.