Amsterdam Schiphol is one of the busiest airports in Europe and the world, serving hundreds of destinations globally. As a hub for KLM and many other airlines, passengers may often find themselves connecting at this airport. So how long do you need to connect at Amsterdam Schiphol, especially in these unique circumstances?
Unlike many hub airports, Amsterdam features a single terminal divided into three departure halls, 1, 2, and 3, all with their own piers. The single terminal allows passengers to walk between their gates and avoid long wait times for transfer options. Depending on the flight, passengers may have to clear passport and border checks when moving between halls.
Hall 1 caters exclusively to Schengen Zone flights (travel between the 26 border-free EU states) and uses Piers B, C, and D.
Hall 2 is the largest one and caters to both international and Schengen flights, using Pier D and E. SkyTeam passengers flying on KLM, Delta, or others, along with major Middle Eastern and East Asian carriers will likely find themselves in Pier E when connecting onto international flights.
Hall 3 is also a mixed terminal dominated by SkyTeam airlines, served by Piers F, G, H, and M. Passenger on low-cost airlines will find themselves in pier H or M depending on if their flight is Schengen or international respectively. Piers F and G cater exclusively to non-Schengen flight, with SkyTeam prevalent in the former.
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Depending on your flight type and piers, passengers can find themselves with varying connecting times. KLM recommends setting aside at least 40 minutes for Schengen flights, a realistic figure. This is assuming your bags are checked through and you have the needed boarding pass, without which you’ll have to exit the airport and clear security again.
Walking between gates can take anywhere between two to 30 minutes depending on the distance, so be ready to sprint if your flight is running late. There are no additional security checks so passengers can simply walk to their next gate.
However, health checks nowadays could mean this time is slightly longer so do leave some cushion to compensate for flight delays.
For international flights, KLM recommends at least 50 minutes of transit time. However, passport and health checks that are currently in place will likely extend this time. For intercontinental flights, we’d recommend at least 75 minutes during the current circumstances.
Once again, your airline could make a difference. Depending on the destination, SkyTeam partner airlines could be in the same pier, cutting down transit time by a lot. However, if your airline is located in a different pier, or you are connecting from an EU flight, the walk could be up to 30 minutes.
A quick tip from our writer and KLM enthusiast Chris Loh: immigration tends to get busy during the mornings and early afternoon, so be sure to leave extra time if you’re connecting around then. The airport does have automated lanes for EU passport holders, cutting down the time substantially.
Amsterdam Schiphol is one of the easiest airports to transfer through, rivaled only by competitors Paris Charles De Gaulle and London Heathrow. Even during this current pandemic, minus a few temperature checks, transit should be a breeze!
Have you flown through Amsterdam before? How was your experience? Let us know in the comments below!