Expected crowds at Schiphol
Today's crowd levels
Departure: busy day
We expect a busy day at Departures. There are longer queues, some possibly starting outside the terminal (partly covered).
Why is it so busy at Schiphol?
Schiphol, just like the rest of the Netherlands, is facing staff shortages. As a passenger, you might be affected by longer queues at the security check or longer waiting times at baggage reclaim. Luckily, there are also quieter moments throughout the day. If you would like to know how busy it will be on the day you are travelling, fill in your flight details.
What is Schiphol doing about the crowds?
Several measures have been implemented, including moving flights to regional airports and setting a limit on the number of departing travellers per day during the summer. This will continue into September and October. In order to have a better flow through security, there are security coaches who help travellers get through security as quickly as possible. We are also deploying additional colleagues, including office workers and retired employees, to help travellers in the terminal on their way. And we continue to recruit new staff.
In addition, we strive to provide clarity regarding what you can expect at Schiphol as a passenger. For example, we give an indication of how busy we expect it to be on your travel day a few days before departure. On the day of departure, we give an insight into how long the queues are at the security check. You can find this information online in your personal itinerary. Fill in your flight details to access your itinerary. Furthermore, in the departure halls there are additional digital screens displaying current waiting times.
What time should I be at Schiphol?
If you are travelling with hold baggage or if you have not already checked in online, consult your airline regarding what time the check-in desk will be open. Otherwise, you might end up waiting longer for nothing. If you are travelling with hand baggage only, we request that you come to the airport no more than 4 hours before departure. That way, you'll be helping us to spread the queues at the check-in desks and security, and to ensure a smoother flow of travellers. There's no point in arriving earlier – if your check-in desk or baggage drop-off isn't open, you'll be waiting unnecessarily. You should therefore always find out what time you need to be at Schiphol either by consulting your airline or by checking your personal itinerary.
Can I make use of baggage drop-off?
Many airlines offer the possibility of checking in online at home. That saves time at the check-in desk. For even more convenience, you can make use of the self-service baggage drop-off at the airport. Just follow the instructions, tag your baggage and before you know it your suitcase will be on its way to the plane.
Which queue do I need to join?
At a busy Schiphol it can sometimes be difficult to see if you are in the right queue. If you still need to check in or drop off your baggage, you should join the queue at the check-in desks. Look up your flight or use the Schiphol app to find out which desk you need to go to. If you have already checked in and dropped off your baggage, or if you are travelling with hand baggage only, go straight to the queue for the security check. Check which gate you need to go to so that you join the correct security queue. Your gate number is on your boarding pass and in the Schiphol app. When in doubt, you can always ask a Schiphol employee.
Do I need to queue up if I have already checked in online?
Yes, even if you have already checked in online you need to queue for security. However, if you are travelling with hand baggage only and your airline allows it, you can skip the queue for the check-in desks. You can join the queue for security straight away provided you have checked in online and do not have any baggage to drop off. Make sure that you have your boarding pass ready, either printed out or on your phone. You can see your gate number on your boarding pass, so you know which security check queue to join.
I have a (physical) disability and cannot queue up for long – now what?
You can let your airline know in the event you have a physical disability that means you cannot queue for long and require assistance. Please do this at least 48 hours before your flight so we can take your arrival into account. Upon arriving at the airport, go to the Assistance Desk. We'll help you further from there. Do you have an invisible disability that means you need more time to go through the security and passport checks? You can pick up a green lanyard at the Assistance Desk. That way, we can recognise you and give you the time and space you need.
Can I go to the bathroom after I have started queuing?
We recommend that you use the bathrooms in the terminal or the ones outside next to the tent before joining the queue. If you leave the queue to go to the toilet, you are basically giving up your place. You may then have to join the back of the queue when you return, which would be a waste of your time. If you are travelling with other people, you could ask them to save your place. But you will still need to let other queueing travellers know that you were ahead of them in the queue.
Do small children also have to queue up?
Just like adults, children also have to go through the mandatory checks at Schiphol. Therefore, you also need to queue up with small children. We cannot help you get through the queue faster with children, so prepare them for the wait in advance. The airport has free Wi-Fi, so you can play games and watch videos on your phone or tablet. Bring something to eat and drink with you. And only pack the essentials in your hand baggage so that you don't have to carry too much (and to save time at the security check too).
What happens if I miss my flight?
Missing your flight is a major inconvenience. However, it doesn't necessarily mean the end of your trip. In some cases, there might be another flight to your destination that same day. Always contact your airline to find out what your options are. This also applies to baggage that has been checked in and that can perhaps be rebooked. If there aren't any other flights, there's no point in staying at Schiphol. Take a look at the missed flight page to find out what to do.