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Retrieve & Re-check baggage when transferring flights in Amsterdam?

In early August, after 3 weeks in Europe, we will be flying KLM out of Prague, into Amsterdam (Schiphol) then have 1 hour & 50 minutes to transfer to our KLM flight back to Washington Dulles, USA. Can we just check our bags in Prague straight through to Washington Dulles or do we have to retrieve them and re-check them and go through security in Amsterdam? Also, for this transfer is 1 hour 50 minutes sufficient? Thanks all!

Posted by
2828 posts

Assuming you have a through ticket all the way, there is no need to re-check bags in Amsterdam, they will be tagged all the way to IAD.

Posted by
1068 posts

I'm not sure about re-checking for everyone. Last year I flew from Moscow to Amsterdam to Portland and had about a 4 hours layover in Schiphol. As I was flying to the US I had to essentially do US security and Customs in Amsterdam before they let me board the plane. I had not left the "secure" area of the airport after I deplaned from Moscow. While the process and friendly and efficient, it was clearly like entering US territory. It did not take much time especially as I had carry-on luggage. Everyone getting on the plane (not just people from Russia--although I think I was the only one) had to do this step. Regarding time, my understanding is that KLM is very efficient at getting people their luggage and onto the next flight. Several travelers I know had a 1 hour connection and made it with no problem.

Posted by
123 posts

Excellent. Thank you everyone. Guess I'm just being a worry-wart. We normally do carry-on only but this time we can't for various reasons. The only time we ever had a checked luggage problem was when I erroneously booked our flight from US to Madrid, then booked a separate flight from Madrid to Barcelona. So of course our bags stayed in Madrid...caught up with us 2 days later. We always do carry-on all the important stuff plus a change of clothing (just in case!) . Really appreciate your responses.

Posted by
295 posts

my general rule is to allow 2 hours to transfer. You basically have that. Also, you don't need to claim your bag in Amsterdam. You can check it all the way to Dulles. So, you can breeze through the airport and just go thru immigration and head to your gate. You will probably also have time to grab a snack or buy something.

Posted by
1068 posts

So for my clarification, are you saying I would not have to have a checked bag clear US customs if I flew through Schiphol? This is for my future reference as I like that airport. There was no customs check in the US when I landed in Portland. I gave my US customs form to them at Schiphol. But, if I did have a checked bag customs would not have cared? Again, I ask for future reference because every other place I have to clear customs they always wanted to see all of my luggage..... which meant waiting for it to get off the other airplane and carrying it through security and then customs.

Posted by
8976 posts

Ray are you possibly confusing Schipol airport with Dublin Airport?? What you are describing is US CBP Preclearance. Which mean you go through US Customs/Immigration at an airport outside the US. But the only airports in Europe which have this program are Dublin and Shannon airports in Ireland. At Schipol checked bagged from another airport is checked through to your first arrival airport in the US. You don't have to reclaim it at Schipol. Also direct flights from Amsterdam to any airport in the US involve customs and immigration checks in the US; there is no way to bypass this unless you are flying out of Ireland.

Posted by
5775 posts

My usual experience reentering theUS from overseas is going through US customs & immigration at the first US gateway city, not the European (or Asian) departure city. The exception are preclearance locations such as certain Canadian cities, Ireland, Dublin, UAE and Caribbean departure locations noted: http://www.cbp.gov/contact/ports/preclearance/preclear-locations

At preclearance airports, the US stations customs agents at these locations.

Posted by
1068 posts

No it was not Dublin, but the preclearance list helps sort things out. It was less than a year ago that I returned to Portland from Moscow via Schiphol. I did go through a lengthy clearance at Schiphol and there were no customs when I landed in Portland. However, I will continue to peruse the list and see if I can figure it out. Thanks for the info.

Posted by
3662 posts

Ray, I wonder if what you experienced at Schiphol was the security screening process operated by your airline to enter its departure lounge. On trans-Atlantic flights it can be more thorough than the airport's initial security. From the passenger's point of view I am quibbling, since the experience has exactly the same effect no matter who is running it. However it does not involve checked bags, only those being carried into the cabin.