Schiphol crowded ahead of Pentecost weekend; Departure hall access limitation enforced
Friday morning was again very busy at Schiphol airport. Between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m., there were already long lines of passengers waiting, and the crowds seemed to be increasing with lines stretching out the door. The crowds are mainly holidaymakers, likely people who want to get away for a bit during the long Pentecost weekend.
It is noticeable that many people do not have checked baggage with them. The check-in counter for hand luggage-only is busier than the counter where large suitcases have to be checked in. An employee said that the crowds are still "manageable" but that the busiest time of the day is yet to come.
To prevent crowds from getting out of hand, Schiphol only allows people to enter the departure halls if their flight departs within four hours. Employees are therefore asking travelers for their flight time before they can go into the departure hall. Most people can enter, but not everyone. Several dozen people have to wait because they are not allowed to enter yet.
One inspector said people generally understand that they can't go in too early. "We have to send about 2 percent away. We send them to Schiphol Plaza, and they can come back to the departure hall from the inside when it's their turn."
That travelers understand the situation is also apparent from reactions from people standing in line. A group near the front of the line said that the waiting time was not too bad. "It was shorter than expected. About 40 minutes." But others found the lines longer than expected. Some people who just found out the line started outside shouted: "No, dude, does it start there?!"
Schiphol has struggled with crowds for weeks due to structural staff shortages in security and baggage handling. Passengers often had to queue for hours. Some people missed flights, and there were clashes between frustrated travelers and security. The airport is trying to solve the problems. On Wednesday, Schiphol and the trade unions presented a package of measures to combat the staff shortages.
Reporting by ANP