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connecting flight at Schipol

I have nightmarish memories of making a flight connection at Schipol/Ams. Hundreds of people crammed into a space all trying to make their way through customs, no lines or order. Our incoming flight was delayed so we needed to rush & barely made our flight. Now we've been booked on a Delta via KLM Royal Dutch flight that arrives at Schipol at 8:40AM from Budapest. Need to connect to a Delta flight to Seattle that departs at 10:10AM. It's booked on the same ticket & we generally carry on our luggage. Will this work?

Posted by
4012 posts

Customs isn't your problem; a delayed inbound flight from Budapest is. And that is very realistic.

I travel via AMS too as I take DL to JFK. The later of the JFK bound flights leaves at 10:55am. When I've transited via AMS returning to the US, I arrive the night before and stay at an airport hotel. This eliminates my spending time during my trip worrying about connecting even though it's a legal flight connection time. Your 10:10am flight could close 15-30 minutes prior to boarding so that means you really don't have 90 minutes. If you're not sitting in the front of the inbound aircraft to AMS, it might take you 5-15 minutes to deboard at AMS. I would not do this same-day tight connection if I were you as I see it as a stress-making gamble. You're having nightmares so you may not be a gambler either!

You said "you've been booked" on your return home itinerary. You didn't do this yourself? I wish you had asked this question before this booking was made by you (or someone else) because to change your itinerary might have a substantial change fee.

Posted by
20461 posts

I've connected at Schipol a number of times and never saw any confusion at the immigration check point. It's been very civilized with an organized queue and if you are pressed for time, show you boarding pass to the "line boss" and they will move you to the head of the line.

Posted by
5837 posts

AMS is one of the better airports for connections in my experience. You should be good assuming that your first flight is not substantially delayed. Most airlines build in some (anticipated) delay allowances.

The standard transfer time at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to a flight
within Europe is 40 minutes and 50 minutes for an intercontinental

Note the new security screening for flight to the US:

Flights to the US

Also newly introduced are the so-called “Pre Departure Clearance”
centers. If you fly with an US carrier to the US (Delta, United, US
Airways / American) then you will be questioned before departure by a
security firm. Normally this happens at check-in. Because of the many
transfer passengers at Schiphol, this was not always possible. The
interview that used to take place at the gate, took some time and
space. Now there are two central locations in the terminal where all
passengers of US carriers will have to report for departure. As a
result, the real gate is not mentioned on your boarding pass, but the
location of the PDC; D1 for Delta passengers and E4 for other
airlines. After undergoing the interview you will get a receipt with
the actual departure gate of your flight.

Posted by
7722 posts

And make sure you go to the correct Immigration area. While it can vary depending on your arrival gate, you will first see the signs for immigration for arrival in the Netherlands, you want to follow the signs for connecting flights however, a separate area that lets you out into the Domestic terminal after an immigration check. If you were to go through the first one, you would find yourself outside the secure area, and needing to go through security to get to your gate. As for time, you are booked already, a change would cost you, so go with it and make the best effort. In worse case they will still get you home (unless these are separate bookings)

Posted by
8889 posts

No immigration (passport checks) if arriving from Budapest at Schiphol. Both Hungary and the Netherlands are in the Schengen Area.
No customs as both are in the EU, but that is academic anyway as customs isn't a delay.
You will just walk straight off the plane into the airport.

But what will take time is security and outgoing passport check. Plus the risk of a delayed incoming flight. 1h30 is tight but doable if no delays.
As this is one through booking, you won't have to check in (you will already have your boarding card for the second flight). And, if you miss the second flight because the first was late the airline will put you on a later flight.

Posted by
20461 posts

Since it is a connection to USA, luggage should be automatically transferred, and you do need to pass through immigration to get your passport stamped for exiting Schengen zone, then some additional security at the gate for flights to the USA.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks so much for all the feedback. Hoping with all this info & some good luck it will work. Next time..yeah, I'm going to get in the night before.