Schiphol limiting departure hall access only to those flying within 4 hours
In an effort to reduce severe crowding at the departure halls, Schiphol Airport will only allow passengers departing within four hours to access the check-in desks, baggage drops, and security checkpoints. Lines at the airport over the past five weeks have frequently stretched from one departure hall to the next, extending outside of the airport and down the roadway.
“We understand that because of the crowds at the airport you would like to arrive at Schiphol well in time,” the airport said in a statement. However, by limiting when people can enter the departure areas, the airport said it will help spread out queues and guarantee a smoother flow of passengers.
“Are you at the airport earlier? Then you will wait inside at Schiphol Plaza until you can enter the departure hall. Therefore, use public transport as much as possible when coming to the airport so that you are dropped off at Schiphol Plaza,” the airport said.
The airport also advised that people pack lightly if possible, taking only either a checked bag or hand luggage, but not both. Additionally, they requested that passengers take no more than one piece of hand luggage per trip.
Staff shortages at Schiphol Airport and at some airlines, particularly with baggage handlers and at security checkpoints, have led to long waiting times for those trying to catch departing flights. Passengers have had to spend hours in line, particularly when KLM ground personnel called a wildcat strike on April 23, the first day of the May vacation period, but also when over the Ascension Day long weekend.
Schiphol released an action plan to mitigate the crowding, which includes hiring more personnel, reducing work pressure, making the worksite more attractive, better communicating with airlines about airport staffing levels, and requesting airlines to move flights to regional airports or cancel flights altogether. The airport also fended off potential labor strikes by reaching a new deal with labor unions over summer bonus pay and recruitment.