Frequently Asked Questions about the flying start at Schiphol: We assure you a smooth journey

Travelling through Schiphol? Then it is good to know that together with our partners, we make the start of your journey as pleasant as possible. And with the tips and information you'll find on this page, you also contribute to a smooth journey.

Where can I find departure and arrival times?

On Schiphol.nl, you will find a useful overview of departing and arriving flights. This list can also be found in the free Schiphol app.

What does Schiphol do in concrete terms when it’s busy?

In busy periods, such as vacations, we work hard with our partners to provide each traveller with a flying start to their trip. For example, all security passages are fully operational with additional security staff. We also deploy more employees to ensure a continues flow in the terminal and a better service to the travellers.

When should I plan to arrive at the airport?

How long you should plan to arrive at the airport before your flight, depends on where you are going. Please check your airline's website for up-to-date advice and your check-in desk’s opening time. We normally advise 2 hours in advance for European flights, and 3 hours for intercontinental flights. You should also find out whether there are traffic jams, road or rail works and adjust your journey to Schiphol accordingly.

Read more about travelling to Schiphol.

Why did I still have to queue, even though I arrived at Schiphol on time?

We always do our very best to ensure that you reach your departure gate quickly, comfortably and safely. But queues are unavoidable when there are a lot of travellers at the airport at the same time. During peak periods, we deploy extra staff to keep things moving. We never relax our rules at Security because safety is always our first priority. We appreciate your understanding for any delays that may be caused. You can also prepare for the security check and pack your hand baggage efficiently in order to save time.

Hand baggage

How large can my hand baggage be?

The rules about size and weight of your hand baggage varies by airline. Please check the maximum dimensions and weight with the airline you are flying with. Please also contact your airline for rates for (extra) hold baggage.

Can I bring a pair of tweezers, a pocket knife or a razor blade into my hand baggage?

You can take a tweezer or pocket knife into the plane if the sharp part (the blade) is no longer than 6cm. A razor blade is only allowed if it is a safety razor blade or disposable razor in a fixed holder. Loose or open blades are not allowed in your hand baggage.

Here too, security staff can refuse an item for safety reasons.

Can I bring a pet with me in my hand baggage?

Small pets are permitted in the flight cabin on a number of airlines. It depends on your pet’s weight and size, as well as the dimensions of your pet carrier. Please check the rules with your airline.

Read more about pets at Schiphol

Can you bring food on the plane?

Yes, that is allowed. But be aware of packaged food that fall under the liquid rules, such as a jar or tube of yoghurt, mayonnaise, peanut butter or chocolate spread. Did you take food with you in your hand baggage, but did not eat it in the plane? Then keep in mind the specific customs import rules at your destination.

Can I bring cheese in my hand luggage or hold baggage?

If you are traveling to a country within the European Union, you may bring a piece of cheese in your baggage. And a slice of cheese on your sandwich is also fine. However, if you fly to or from a country outside the European Union, you cannot bring cheese or other dairy products without a health certificate. Also be aware of spreadable cheeses and spreads, as they fall under the liquids rules!

Check the Dutch Customs’ site for more information on bringing meat, fish and dairy.

Can I bring a bottle of alcohol that I buy at Schiphol on to the plane with me?

The bottle can be included in your hand baggage, but only if you buy it after security. Your items need to be sealed if you have a stopover at another airport. The cashier will ask if you have a stopover, and will seal your items for you.

If you are planning to buy liquids or gels at Schiphol that contain more than 100ml, or have purchased products that you would rather not take with you on a trip, simply use the free Shop and Collect Service. The service is available for EU citizens only.

I am going abroad for a longer period of time and need to take medication for personal use. Is this allowed?

Yes, you can take medication for personal use with you for the duration of your trip. This means from the day you leave until the day you return. We also ask you to bring a medical certificate.

I would like to bring medication for a friend or family member. Is this allowed?

Yes, this is allowed. You will need the following documents for this:

  • Medical passport for the person concerned
  • A GP’s declaration with the name of the person for whom it is intended and the name of the person who will carry it.

How much baby food can I bring in my hand baggage?

Yes, you can bring baby food in your hand baggage if you are travelling with a baby up to 1.5 years. You can bring as much as you need for the duration of your trip. This means from the day you leave until the day you return.

I have to express milk before I fly. Can I bring this in my hand baggage and how much?

Yes, you can take this with you in your hand baggage if you are travelling with a baby. In that case there are no restrictions. If you fly without a baby, the rules for liquids apply.

I need cooling elements for my expressed milk. Is this allowed in my hand baggage?

Yes, you can take this with you in your hand baggage if you are travelling with a baby. In that case there are no restrictions. If you fly without a baby, the rules for liquids apply. This also applies to (the size of) the cooling elements.

I heard that you can leave your laptop and liquids in your hand baggage at Schiphol – is that true?

No, that’s not true right now. We are currently in the process of replacing the traditional X-ray machines in our security areas with innovative CT-scans. However, these are not yet available everywhere at Schiphol. In most cases, security will simply require you to take your laptop and bag of liquids out of your hand baggage, so please prepare by having them ready at the top of your bag.

If you are flying to a destination outside the Schengen zone, you may come across the new CT scans. Our security officers will tell you whether or not you still need to take things out of your bag.

I smoke, can I take my lighter in my hand baggage?

Small lighters and safety matches are only allowed if they are worn on your person, not as hand luggage. Carry them with you in your jacket or pocket.

I have an e-cigarette. Can I take this on board?

This depends on the (extra) rules that your airline company sets. Therefore you should always check the additional list of items that are not allowed on an airplane, with your airline.

Can I bring batteries or a power bank?

In principle you can. However, your airline can have additional rules, which means that they may not be allowed after all. Especially when it comes to lithium batteries, airlines are extra cautious. Therefore you should always check the additional list of prohibited items with your airline.

Hold baggage & Odd-size baggage

How large can my hold baggage be?

The size and weight of your suitcase varies per airline. Please check with your airline to find out the maximum dimensions and weight allowed for your hold baggage. Your weight limit is also displayed on your ticket. Please also contact your airline for rates for (extra) hold baggage.

How does security check hold baggage?

As soon as you have delivered your hold baggage, your suitcase or bag will enter the Schiphol Baggage System. All baggage is checked by security using X-ray equipment. Your suitcase or bag is never opened by security.

Can my suitcase be opened at Schiphol?

No. In principle, your suitcase will remain closed. All hold baggage is checked using X-ray equipment. If we see scan something suspicious, we will track you down at the airport so you can open your suitcase yourself.

The only exception is if your flight departs within 45 minutes. In those cases, we ask the airline or handler to open it and perform a manual search. That always happens under the supervision of you or your airline representative. If forbidden objects are found during a scan, it will not be opened but sent to the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (Dutch Police) and Customs instead.

What type of baggage is considered as odd-sized?

Odd-sized baggage is baggage that is larger or heavier than normal. It includes baggage of an irregular shape, that is fragile or contains certain items that are not allowed in the hand luggage and must be checked in separately. Examples of odd-sized baggage include pets, bicycles, skis and snowboards, golf bags, larger musical instruments, surfboards and kiteboards, wheelchairs, high chairs, cars and buggies.

Please also check the conditions and requirements, as well as maximum dimensions and weight, set by your airline.

Which conditions and rates apply for odd-sized baggage?

Your airline can tell you exactly which conditions, such as maximum dimensions and weight, and rates they use for different baggage and transportation of pets. Therefore, please contact your airline for specific information.

Can I take my pet with me on the plane?

That depends upon your airline. Some do allow small pets (cats, dogs, etc.) in the cabin, others do not. If they are permitted, there are limits on the size and weight of the animal and rules for the dimensions of its carrier. Please check with your airline for its policy and regulations.

Read more about travelling with pets.

I’m going to participate in winter sports – can I take my skis or snowboard with me?

Yes, you can bring them with you. Skis and snowboards are not classed as regular baggage, so you will have to drop them at the ‘Odd Size’ counter. First, take your baggage to your airline’s check-in desk. You may have to pay a small surcharge to bring your winter sport equipment with you. Once your baggage has been tagged, simply drop your equipment off at the ‘Odd Size’ baggage counter.

Can I bring a hoverboard or oxboard into my luggage?

No, self-balancing devices or personal transport devices are forbidden as both hand and hold baggage. Hoverboards, airboards, oxboards, eSkates, waveboards and U-runners use lithium batteries. These batteries generate a lot of heat if a short circuit occurs, which may cause them to spontaneously ignite or even explode. That is why they are on the list of dangerous objects and it is forbidden to travel with them.

Can I bring my bicycle with me?

Yes, with most airlines you can take your bike with you as odd-sized baggage. Please purchase a special box to prevent damage to your bike from the left-luggage office, located in Departures 1 and 2 on the basement level under the central stairs. The office is manned every day between 06:00-23:00. You can call an employee on the intercom outside of those hours.

Bicycle box specifications

  • Price € 23 incl. VAT
  • Weight 5 kilos
  • Size 99 cm high, 21 cm wide, 175 long

I have a long layover. Can I store my baggage at the airport while I go to Amsterdam for a day trip?

Yes. You can use our baggage depot in the basement between Arrivals 1 and 2, to temporarily store your hand baggage as well as your hold baggage. Read more about storing your baggage at Schiphol, the opening hours and costs.

Travelling with children

How do I prepare for travelling with children?

If you are travelling with minors, you will indeed have to take a number of additional things into consideration. On the page Travel with children you can read more about the extra rules and regulations that you have to take into account during your preparation.

I am travelling with my child, but without my (ex-) partner. How does this work?

If you are travelling with your child(ren) up to the age of 18, but without your (ex-)partner, you will always require your partner's consent. If you are flying with someone else's children, you will need the consent of both parents.

Download a consent form from the website of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee and avoid any unpleasant surprises and delays.

Can my child travel on my lap in the plane?

It depends on your airline whether you need to book separate seats for young children or not, so please check with your airline when you buy your tickets.

Read more about travelling with babies and children.

Can I take a baby buggy, pushchair or pram to the gate?

The rules for baby buggies, pushchairs and prams vary from one airline to another. In general, buggies can be taken as far as the boarding gate. Staff then label them and place them in the aircraft’s hold. Prams and non-folding buggies or pushchairs usually have to be checked in as odd size baggage.

Passport

Do I always need to bring my passport when travelling abroad?

If you have a valid passport, we strongly advise you to bring it when travelling through Schiphol. Whatever your destination, you will almost certainly be required to carry valid ID there. In some cases, this does not necessarily have to be a passport. When travelling within the Schengen zone, you can also use an official national identity card. A valid passport is required elsewhere.

Your airline will also check your passport or identity card against the details on your ticket, to confirm that you are the registered traveller.

Can I obtain an emergency travel document at Schiphol?

Yes, if you are Dutch citizen you can obtain one at the Emergency Documents Desk between Departure 1 and 2. For details of the documents you need, we advise you to contact your local authority (Town Hall) as quickly as possible. For more information about the procedure, see the national government website.

I have a complaint or comment about passport control. Who can I contact?

All complaints or comments about passport control at Schiphol should be directed to the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee through defensie.nl. Please be as specific as possible – for example, state where you were, the date and time and the name of the officer who checked your passport, or what they looked like.

Security

How do I go through security as fast as possible?

The most important tips to go through security as smoothly as possible, are:

  • Empty your pockets;
  • Keep your passport and boarding pass tucked in your pocket or bag;
  • Keep liquids in a transparent 1 litre bag at hand;
  • Take tablets and laptops out of your hand baggage;
  • Remove jackets;
  • Follow the instructions of the security staff carefully.

When can I use the security lane for ‘Small Bags Only’?

If you are only travelling with a small bag as hand baggage, you can use the ‘Small Bags Only’ lane. Small bags include laptops, backpacks and small handbags to a maximum size of 40x30x20cm (about 25 litres). Small bags do not include large pieces of hand luggage, such as those on wheels.

At the beginning of the security lanes, you will notice a ‘Small Bags Only’ sign. A Schiphol representative will indicate which type of hand baggage is allowed in the small bags lane.

  • In Departures 1 from 04:00 – 20:00
  • In Departures 2 from 06:00 – 16:00
  • In Departures 3 from 07:00 – 20:30
  • NB. In Departures 1a and 4 there are no 'Small Bags Only'-passages.
  • Do you travel with normal hand baggage? Don’t worry. The waiting times in your queue should become shorter too, because all ‘handbags’ will be in a different queue. This will allow all travellers to get to their plane faster.

Should I expect additional security measures when travelling to the USA?

Flights to the United States have been subject to additional security measures for a long time. However, the existing measures were somewhat expanded in 2017. It is possible that you and your hand baggage may be subjected to an additional check at the gate when flying to the USA.

Because of the extra checks it is important to arrive at the airport in time when travelling to the USA. Please contact your airline for the latest advice. Flights to the US are subject to the standard baggage regulations.

Electronic devices such as tablets and laptops may be stored in your hand baggage.

The US government is imposing these measures on all airlines flying to the United States. If you have any questions, please contact your airline.

Is the security scanner harmful to my health?

No, it is not harmful to your health. Even travellers who are pregnant or have a pacemaker can go through the security scan.

Is my privacy guaranteed during the security scan?

The scan is analysed by a computer and not a human. It cannot look through your body or take nude photos of you, which ensures that your privacy is guaranteed.

Can the security scanner see me naked?

No, the scanner does not see you naked. Indeed, the millimeter waves go through your clothes, but they do not give a nude scan as output. What’s also good to know is that the scan is analysed by a computer and not by a security employee.

How does Millimetre Wave Technology work?

The Security Scanner works with technology that uses millimetre waves. These waves are reflected by your skin and pass harmlessly through your clothes. The waves also reflect other materials, like plastic, metal, wood, iron, ceramics etc. That way, the scanner can easily detect suspicious objects.

I prefer not to go through the security scan. What can I do?

If you prefer not to go through the security scan, please talk to one of the security staff members. They will perform a thorough manual search instead.

Check-in

What is the best way to check in at Schiphol?

Online check-in is the easiest and fastest option for most travellers, especially if you are only travelling with hand luggage and if the airport is busier than usual. You can also check in at the self-service check-in kiosks and drop-off areas with a couple of airlines. Or simply visit your airline’s check in desk for your boarding pass and to drop off your baggage.

Read more about Schiphol’s check-in process

How do I request extra assistance at Schiphol?

You can request additional assistance at the time of booking your ticket or trip. Your airline or travel agency will then inform us of your request. Please ensure that you make your request to your airline or travel agency up to 48 hours before departure. We are unable to guarantee this service with less than 48 hours’ notice.

Read more about extra assistance at Schiphol

Can I have my baggage sealed at Schiphol?

Yes, you can. Drop by Seal & Go in Departures 2 and 3, in front of the check-in desks. It can be safer and more secure to seal your bags, and doing so also protects them from scratches.

Read more about sealing your baggage

Transfer passenger

Where do I park to pick up or drop-off travellers?

When bringing or collecting travellers by car, follow the Parking (‘Parkeren’) signs to the P1 Short-term Car Park. From there, it’s 3-6 minutes’ walk to Departures and Arrivals. You can also drop off departing travellers directly in front of the check-in area (follow the ‘Vertrek'/'Wegbrengen’ signs), but you are not allowed to park or wait there.

Lost & found

I lost something. What should I do?

If you are still at Schiphol, it is best to go to one of our information desks. If we have found your items, they will be returned to you immediately. If not, we will tell you where else you can try. Please complete this form if you realised that you lost something when you got home. We will then check whether your items have been found. For more information, visit our found items page.

If you have lost labelled baggage or have left items on the plane, please contact your airline to enquire about your missing baggage.