Amsterdam Schiphol Airport Caps Summer Passenger Numbers

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport Caps Summer Passenger Numbers

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They say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. That has kind of been the story of operational reliability in the airline industry in recent months, as we’ve continued to see a recovery in travel demand.

One airport is now taking a new approach, and is greatly capping passenger numbers, in hopes of being able to operate more reliably. As you might expect, airlines have mixed feelings about this.

Amsterdam Schiphol’s major operational issues

While operational meltdowns have happened across the airline industry, there are a few mega-hubs that have most consistently had issues. One of those hubs is Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. For the past several weeks, there have been reports of complete meltdowns, allegedly due to a shortage of both security staff and baggage handlers.

We’ve heard stories of five hour lines at security, and we’ve seen passengers advised not to bring any baggage if they wish to fly. KLM, the airport’s largest carrier, has even flown dozens of planes back to the airport empty in order to minimize the number of travelers during peak periods.

It has truly been a disaster, and if nothing is done, it’s only likely to get worse, with the busy summer travel season ahead.

There has been chaos at Schiphol Airport in recent weeks

Amsterdam Schiphol limits passenger numbers

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is trying to avoid a complete meltdown over peak summer months, so it has been announced that there will be a cap on passenger numbers between July 6 and August 28, 2022. Specifically, the airport will only accept around 70,000 passengers per day during that period. That’s about 13,500 fewer seats per day than airlines had planned, and represents a 16% capacity reduction.

This is intended to ensure that the majority of travelers will be able to travel through the airport in a “safe and responsible way.” The capacity cuts are supposed to be spread equally across carriers based on market share. It remains to be seen if airlines will just cancel lots of flights, or if we see some airlines simply block seats on planned services (the former of course seems more economical, but who knows).

In a statement, KLM indicated that it endorses the need for additional measures, but also “finds it unacceptable that the airport’s users should have to structurally bear the burden of capacity problems at Schiphol.”

KLM plans to scrap flights, slow down ticket sales, spread flights out more throughout the day by extending connection times, etc. KLM also says it intends to hold the airport responsible for the financial impact of these measures. That seems fair, though I feel like that’s going to be an interesting battle.

Airlines will have to cap passenger numbers in Amsterdam

Bottom line

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is preparing to get even busier in July and August, and has revealed a plan to cap the number of travelers who can use the airport. We can expect a capacity reduction of around 16%, so if you’re scheduled to pass through the airport in the coming months, keep a close eye on your itinerary.

While there would ideally be a better solution, I at least appreciate that the airport is doing something, rather than continuing to allow more travelers to be booked than can realistically be accommodated. Hopefully this streamlines things, and makes the hub more reliable.

What do you make of Schiphol capping passenger numbers?

Conversations (48)
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  1. COSME LLOP Guest

    I read that one of the actions is to increase the transfer time. Well KLM did that to us to a 4 hour transfer and still I lost one of my luggage. We were flying with KLM from LA to BCN through Schiphol.
    After 5 days still no news of the missing luggage. Claiming system is cumbersome and clearly not friendly. Everytime I call I need to wait for good 20 min to be...

    I read that one of the actions is to increase the transfer time. Well KLM did that to us to a 4 hour transfer and still I lost one of my luggage. We were flying with KLM from LA to BCN through Schiphol.
    After 5 days still no news of the missing luggage. Claiming system is cumbersome and clearly not friendly. Everytime I call I need to wait for good 20 min to be attended.
    I am telling my friends not to travel with KLM as require using Schiphol. No good experience and total lack of support for their customers.

    1. Molly Miller Guest

      I was very interested when I read your comment. We have had a very similar experience. We flew from Minneapolis, MN to Madrid through Schiphol on June 20th. We checked two bags that, according to the system, are stuck at Schiphol. We have been calling nearly every day with no luck. Our bags have been missing for 12 days now! Have you received your bags yet? We were certain that our bags didn’t make it...

      I was very interested when I read your comment. We have had a very similar experience. We flew from Minneapolis, MN to Madrid through Schiphol on June 20th. We checked two bags that, according to the system, are stuck at Schiphol. We have been calling nearly every day with no luck. Our bags have been missing for 12 days now! Have you received your bags yet? We were certain that our bags didn’t make it to Madrid because our plane was an hour late arriving to Schiphol, causing us to run through the airport to catch our flight to Madrid. It was interesting to me to read that your transfer time was 4 hours and you still lost some luggage! We are very confused since there are multiple daily flights from Amsterdam to Madrid.

  2. Aallen Guest

    Flying in on Sunday the 26th of June. What should I expect upon a 7 am arrival time? What’s my wait time going to be??

  3. Mike Guest

    Schiphol owns and operates various airports in the Netherlands . They should use Rotterdam
    Eindhoven Maastricht airports as exclusively low cost and Schiphol should be a airport that has KLM as its flagship .It seeks there is like a dispute between Schiphol and KLM and all this does is makes running public entities like Schiphol and KLM more expensive and in efficient and guess who foots the bil in the end : The users...

    Schiphol owns and operates various airports in the Netherlands . They should use Rotterdam
    Eindhoven Maastricht airports as exclusively low cost and Schiphol should be a airport that has KLM as its flagship .It seeks there is like a dispute between Schiphol and KLM and all this does is makes running public entities like Schiphol and KLM more expensive and in efficient and guess who foots the bil in the end : The users ….these measures of “across the board is nonsense. Get the lowcostera out of Schiphol and Into the alternative airports which and whose management is ????Drumroll please SCHIPHOL …..this is like so bizarre …….

  4. Dareen Guest

    I think that it is a good idea to reduce de number of travellers, cancel some bookings for singles not for family's who have to travel in summer school vacation of their children & and also for people who were in vacation this year or the same destination ,make use of refugees who finished their language diploma at least for carrying baggages beter than doing nothing, find alternative airports for people who lives far away...

    I think that it is a good idea to reduce de number of travellers, cancel some bookings for singles not for family's who have to travel in summer school vacation of their children & and also for people who were in vacation this year or the same destination ,make use of refugees who finished their language diploma at least for carrying baggages beter than doing nothing, find alternative airports for people who lives far away from Amsterdam Airport & finally make sure to inform travellers two weeks or more before the date of their flight.

  5. Roberto Guest

    @Lucky + others

    You can read the official restrictions on slots = upcoming flight cancellations

    https://slotcoordination.nl/update-on-capacity-situation-ams-s22-introduction-of-temporary-terminal-parameter/

  6. Roberto Guest

    @Lucky tip:
    7th July announcement for August cancellations

    Info on my post
    https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/34345309-post1024.html

  7. Darren C Gold

    Airlines that are habitually late, like AC TATL, exacerbate every airport's problems.

    14 JUN @ 13:36 I landed at AMS from YYZ on AC with no problems on the AMS airport side.

    AC had departed YYZ more than 3 hours late but I easily made my SAS connection at AMS on to CPH and then GDN.

  8. Richard Hopeful Guest

    We are flying from the US, transiting through Schiphol, to BCN in late June on KLM business class. Will transit be a problem?
    Then in mid July we fly KLM from FCO to AMS, overnight at an airport hotel, and the next day catch our KLM flight back to the States. Again, all in business class. Is there a separate expedited security lane at Schiphol that we can use to avoid the general security mess? Are there any other issues we need to consider?

    1. Reyyan Member

      Transit at the end of June will probably be okay since drama will start from July 7 onwards at Schiphol where a lot of flights will be canceled. There might be a long line to transit between shengen and non-shengen (no priority lines whatsoever), keep that in mind when you happen to have a short connection.

      For mid-july though, Schiphol has a pretty decent priority lane. You will be through security in 30 minutes even at peak times (in my experience).

    2. COSME LLOP Guest

      Sorry to hear Richard, but my experience is that KLM already has issues with luggage at Schipo. They lost mine 5 days ago and no news where it is. It was properly tag even with my name outside. They do not control the situation.
      If you can, try to change to other airport/ airline out of Schiphol

  9. B Hopeful Guest

    We are flying from the US, transiting through Schiphol, to BCN in late June on KLM business class. Will transit be a problem?
    Then in mid July we fly KLM from FCO to AMS, overnight at an airport hotel, and the next day catch our KLM flight back to the States. Again, all in business class. Is there a separate expedited security lane at Schiphol that we can use to avoid the general security mess? Are there any other issues we need to consider?

  10. James22 New Member

    Hi all,

    Is this impacting transfer passengers the same as those originating at AMS? My wife and I fly FLR-AMS-DUB (KLM) on the 22nd and our friend flies FLR-AMS-SEA (KLM and Delta) the same day. It seems a lot of the issues are with originating passengers with baggage check and security? Our friend already has a tight connection of 60 minutes, so we're a bit worried. Thanks for any thoughts/info!

    1. Megan Guest

      See my post below. Transfer passengers are being impacted. Nothing you can do but hope for the best. As I mentioned they opened self service passport control and I made it but it was very close.

    2. James Guest

      Thanks Megan. Yeah, guess just have to wait and see. At least we aren't on one of the peak days mentioned in Roberto's article. This summer is definitely going to be more pins and needles with all the uncertainty with around travel and with crowds.

    3. Megan Guest

      It is frustrating and I hope your journey goes smoothly. The only rebook option for me involved a 12 hour layover at CDG so I decided the only prudent thing to do was attempt the 50 min connection and if I didn't make it ,deal with it then. I've never been so happy to make a flight tbh.

    4. Roberto Guest

      My original comment to help others:

      Established Schiphol peak dates :
      13, 14, 18, 19, 20 and 23 July
      Committed to flight cancellations

      From Dutch:
      Vanaf begin volgende week krijgen reizigers die in juli vanaf Schiphol vliegen meer duidelijkheid over het doorgaan van hun vlucht. Nu al staat vast dat er zes dagen zijn waarop relatief veel passagiers teleurgesteld moeten worden.

      Slotcoördinator ACNL (Airport Coordination Netherlands) laat weten dat 13, 14, 18,...

      My original comment to help others:

      Established Schiphol peak dates :
      13, 14, 18, 19, 20 and 23 July
      Committed to flight cancellations

      From Dutch:
      Vanaf begin volgende week krijgen reizigers die in juli vanaf Schiphol vliegen meer duidelijkheid over het doorgaan van hun vlucht. Nu al staat vast dat er zes dagen zijn waarop relatief veel passagiers teleurgesteld moeten worden.

      Slotcoördinator ACNL (Airport Coordination Netherlands) laat weten dat 13, 14, 18, 19, 20 en 23 juli piekdagen zijn op de luchthaven. Gemiddeld moet Schiphol tussen 7 en 31 juli dagelijks 13.500 passagiers afwijzen, maar op de genoemde dagen zal dat aantal een stuk hoger liggen

      Source:
      https://nos.nl/artikel/2433095-schiphol-moet-extra-veel-passagiers-teleurstellen-op-piekdagen-in-juli

      Seems my comment got lost here...

    5. Roberto Guest

      @Lucky
      More news on 7th July for August cancellations :

      background info:
      https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/34345309-post1024.html

    6. Roberto Guest

      My orginal comment:
      13, 14, 18, 19, 20 and 23 juli
      Peakdays committed to flight cancellations

      https://nos.nl/artikel/2433095-schiphol-moet-extra-veel-passagiers-teleurstellen-op-piekdagen-in-juli

  11. Roberto Guest

    @Lucky : update for your post!

    13, 14, 18, 19, 20 en 23 july are the chosen peak days for flight cancellations,

    Travellers will receive confirmation or cancellation by next week

    It is official:
    https://nos.nl/artikel/2433095-schiphol-moet-extra-veel-passagiers-teleurstellen-op-piekdagen-in-juli

    Source:
    Vanaf begin volgende week krijgen reizigers die in juli vanaf Schiphol vliegen meer duidelijkheid over het doorgaan van hun vlucht. Nu al staat vast dat er zes dagen zijn waarop relatief veel passagiers teleurgesteld moeten worden.

    ...

    @Lucky : update for your post!

    13, 14, 18, 19, 20 en 23 july are the chosen peak days for flight cancellations,

    Travellers will receive confirmation or cancellation by next week

    It is official:
    https://nos.nl/artikel/2433095-schiphol-moet-extra-veel-passagiers-teleurstellen-op-piekdagen-in-juli

    Source:
    Vanaf begin volgende week krijgen reizigers die in juli vanaf Schiphol vliegen meer duidelijkheid over het doorgaan van hun vlucht. Nu al staat vast dat er zes dagen zijn waarop relatief veel passagiers teleurgesteld moeten worden.

    Slotcoördinator ACNL (Airport Coordination Netherlands) laat weten dat 13, 14, 18, 19, 20 en 23 juli piekdagen zijn op de luchthaven.

    So avoid those days or rebook!

  12. Rhonda Guest

    We were at Schiphol on June 4 and 5th. We were set to fly with KLM and they cancelled our flight to Copenhagen. They rebooked us for the next morning. We waited 6 hours in a line at Transfer T2 to find out information about how to get an earlier flight, but never made it to the front of the line. We spent the night in the airport. At 2 am, we received a notification...

    We were at Schiphol on June 4 and 5th. We were set to fly with KLM and they cancelled our flight to Copenhagen. They rebooked us for the next morning. We waited 6 hours in a line at Transfer T2 to find out information about how to get an earlier flight, but never made it to the front of the line. We spent the night in the airport. At 2 am, we received a notification that our rebooked flight for 7 am was cancelled. I went on expedia and purchased tickets for Norwegian Air so that we could get to Copenhagen for our Baltic cruise. Overall, we were up about 60 hours and totally missed our pre-cruise hotel package. In the end I was glad I booked something else, because many people missed the cruise due to the cancelled flights. There were about 75 cancelled flights that day. What a nightmare!

    1. Megan Guest

      My parents were on that cruise if it was the NCL baltic cruise from Copenhagen on June 5th. Thankfully they had been in Europe for the prior two weeks and had flown in from Prague on Norwegian. Not often a LCC is more reliable.

    2. Rhonda Guest

      Yep, that was the NCL Baltic cruise. Norwegian Air was great!

    3. Rhonda Guest

      Yep, that was the NCL Baltic cruise. Norwegian Air was a vacation saver!

  13. Ralph Guest

    We flew United out on June 8th. 2 hour processing. No problems. Flight to SFO was 80% full.

  14. Megan Guest

    I dealt with this within the last week. I had a flight leaving AMS May 29th. Got there 4 hours early and barely made the flight. My return ticket to the USA was a KLM flight CPH-AMS-ATL with a 50 min layover. I've done that flight in the past and made it but this time I had to actually run. The only saving grace was they opened self service passport control for people who had...

    I dealt with this within the last week. I had a flight leaving AMS May 29th. Got there 4 hours early and barely made the flight. My return ticket to the USA was a KLM flight CPH-AMS-ATL with a 50 min layover. I've done that flight in the past and made it but this time I had to actually run. The only saving grace was they opened self service passport control for people who had flights that were closing (ATL, BOS, JFK on my day).

    KLM should not still be selling a flight with a 50 min connection time with these operational issues.

  15. stogieguy7 Diamond

    We flew through AMS twice at the end of May and again home last weekend. It was horrible every time. One flight we took on KLM (AMS-MAN) had a 58 minute flight time but the security line alone was 2 hours for us - and we were told that it had been far worse earlier. Basically had to get to the airport 4 hours early for a 1 hour flight. It was hell. Returning to...

    We flew through AMS twice at the end of May and again home last weekend. It was horrible every time. One flight we took on KLM (AMS-MAN) had a 58 minute flight time but the security line alone was 2 hours for us - and we were told that it had been far worse earlier. Basically had to get to the airport 4 hours early for a 1 hour flight. It was hell. Returning to the USA last weekend, we got sooooo lucky, I can't believe it. Check in line just to drop off bags at UA (already had boarding passes) was well over an hour and that's despite having lower tier status. It was Polaris/1k and the rest, because UA contracts their ground staff from Swissport, who were a joke. Then it was time to go through security - and terminal 3's security area had gotten so bad that security had just closed it off (too many people upstairs, we were told) and sent us to use T2's facilities. This was a blessing in disguise as they had just opened T2 security at that point and we were among the first there. Through in 10 minutes! Call ME Lucky! But you could see the throngs gathering behind us.

    Schiphol is a disgrace right now. It's every bit as bad of a cluster as you hear in the media. The Dutch people are literally embarrassed by it - and that's appropriate.

  16. Jeff Guest

    Why doesn’t KLM provide the airport with staffing or funds to address the shortage?

    I feel like the pandemic has caused everyone to forget basic economics. When demand exceeds supply, the price is too low. Raise the wages/conditions until there is enough labor. If the airport carriers and passengers really want to consume at full capacity, they’ll cover the cost in the form of higher prices.

    1. Ryan Guest

      They are feverishly hiring more employees as fast as they can, but it takes a couple of months for those employees to start working and be fully trained. They have a lower cap for August than July because more employees can be onboarded by then. There is a labor shortage everywhere in the Netherlands and many employees have contractual notice periods if they are already employed... so they can't simply hire enough people overnight. I...

      They are feverishly hiring more employees as fast as they can, but it takes a couple of months for those employees to start working and be fully trained. They have a lower cap for August than July because more employees can be onboarded by then. There is a labor shortage everywhere in the Netherlands and many employees have contractual notice periods if they are already employed... so they can't simply hire enough people overnight. I read at one point that Schiphol has over 500 open security positions and those will take time to fill.

    2. stogieguy7 Diamond

      In part because the government's benefits for those who aren't working (especially those furloughed back during the pandemic) are so generous that many of those potential candidates for such positions are doing too well to bother working.

    3. Icarus Guest

      In addition they need airside passes and security clearance. I hate it when people just say employee more people. Training. Experience?? Gatwick and Heathrow also have a capacity restriction. Klm also increased connecting times

  17. Khatl Gold

    Uh-oh, have a trip there the end of July/early August. Gulp!

  18. Cedric Guest

    Keep these updates coming. Would ne interesting to see other airports and how they are doing.

  19. Bob Guest

    We will be flying out of AMS to Las Vegas during our return to the states on August 14th. This article now has me stressed out. Hopefully we won't experience any delays but I'm not sure what to proactively do about it.

  20. Ben Guest

    We were scheduled out of AMS - after your stories and this one -- we booked a train to Dusseldorf -- flights from CGN or DUS are so much cheaper than AMS -- no crazy lines either. Schiphol sucks!

    1. Khatl Gold

      If you've been to CDG even once, you'll know AMS does not suck. Yeah, the security at Schipol has been bad for years, and definitely the worst thing about the airport, but everything else is pretty cool and puts it definitely in the top half of airports

      OJ literally squeezed from the orange while you wait at Albert Heijn, box of Leonidas for your spouse when you forget to get anything else, huge range of...

      If you've been to CDG even once, you'll know AMS does not suck. Yeah, the security at Schipol has been bad for years, and definitely the worst thing about the airport, but everything else is pretty cool and puts it definitely in the top half of airports

      OJ literally squeezed from the orange while you wait at Albert Heijn, box of Leonidas for your spouse when you forget to get anything else, huge range of places to eat (and all at prices that are not huge mark ups from anywhere else) and then regular, reasonably priced trains (that are not a mile walk) that take you direct into the heart of the city, or anywhere else in the Netherlands. And I say should note that I'm not Dutch and have never lived there.

    2. stogieguy7 Diamond

      AMS sucks hard right now. Makes CDG look like DOH.

    3. Max Guest

      DUS currently is as bad as Amsterdam. Long lines, missed flights, not enough baggage handlers,…

      Better to try Munich if possible.

  21. Kai Cao Guest

    I was there this Monday. It was a complete chaos. I waited 90 mins in line for security and I was exhausted.

  22. Tyler Guest

    People love to complain about TSA, but if you’re traveling with carry-on baggage only there is no smoother experience in the world than traveling in the US with PreCheck. Add Clear to the mix and you’re guaranteed to be from the curb to the concourse in around five minutes, every time.

    1. Kai Cao Guest

      I think you are absolutely correct. TSA PreCheck + CLEAR is hands down the best travel experience in the world. I always miss PreCheck whenever I'm in a foreign airport.

    2. Khatl Gold

      ... except when you travel on a Monday after a holiday. I've had wait lines in TSA+Clear that were 30+ minutes. But you're right. Only thing that beats it are dedicated (international) first class check ins with their own security lines

    3. Watson Gold

      If TSA+Clear is 30 minutes, I'd bet normal security is 2+ hours.

  23. Cosmo Guest

    Honestly this is in opportunity. A lot of the short haul flights can be cut, in favor of train journeys - especially given Schipol is on HSL Zuid, one stop from Amsterdam Centraal. Paris, Brussels, Rotterdam, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt are all very achievable. London and Basel have direct trains though are a bit on the long and infreuqent side, but could still be used to reduce the number of short haul flights. Additionally, Paris CDG is...

    Honestly this is in opportunity. A lot of the short haul flights can be cut, in favor of train journeys - especially given Schipol is on HSL Zuid, one stop from Amsterdam Centraal. Paris, Brussels, Rotterdam, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt are all very achievable. London and Basel have direct trains though are a bit on the long and infreuqent side, but could still be used to reduce the number of short haul flights. Additionally, Paris CDG is on LGV Interconnexion Est, meaning direct high speed trains could be run from one airport to the other, allowing for easy connections to be made that way, to serve places that can't as easily be replaced by a direct train.

    1. Ryan Guest

      In theory yes, and they really need to invest in more and more frequent trains. The trains are often run sold-out and in my experience are usually more expensive than flying unless booked months in advance. They really need to up the frequency of all the train routes that you mention in order.

    2. Gary Smythe Guest

      Thanx Ryan, we are leaving AMS on KLM direct to LAX on September 1, at 9:50am and wonder if there is a priority business class security and luggage check in areas? I’ve researched this and get conflicting reports and information.

  24. Felix Guest

    Schiphol is an absolute disaster. Flew out of there late May on an intra Europe flight. I have never ever seen a security line like this. People were lining up 500 meters outside the airport. Expect at least 2-3 hours it worse to get through security

    1. Ryan Guest

      Interesting. Just flew out of AMS on Sunday to Munich and waited maybe 15 minutes in the line for security. Our flight was 930am so we were there around 7am so maybe that had something to do with it.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Ryan Guest

They are feverishly hiring more employees as fast as they can, but it takes a couple of months for those employees to start working and be fully trained. They have a lower cap for August than July because more employees can be onboarded by then. There is a labor shortage everywhere in the Netherlands and many employees have contractual notice periods if they are already employed... so they can't simply hire enough people overnight. I read at one point that Schiphol has over 500 open security positions and those will take time to fill.

2
Khatl Gold

... except when you travel on a Monday after a holiday. I've had wait lines in TSA+Clear that were 30+ minutes. But you're right. Only thing that beats it are dedicated (international) first class check ins with their own security lines

2
Cedric Guest

Keep these updates coming. Would ne interesting to see other airports and how they are doing.

2
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