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Tight connection at Schiphol - enough time?

I am currently planning a trip where we arrive from the US at AMS Schiphol, and then have 1 hour 50 minutes to connect to our outbound airline (arriving on Delta from the USA, connecting to Baltic Air to Vilnius).

We will be traveling with checked bags.

We will be on separate tickets (that is, our inbound Delta ticket is not connected to our connecting Baltic Air ticket).

Ordinarily, I'd allow 2-3 hours for a connection like this. In this case, the connection time looks to be just under 2 hours (1 hour 50 minutes by the book).

I'm assuming that upon arrival at Schiphol, we will need to clear immigration, claim our bags, clear customs, probably change terminals, check in for our connecting flight, re-check our bags, go through security, and get to the gate....all in 1 hour 50 minutes. That seems tight. My question is, is it too tight?

I know Schiphol is fairly efficient (I was there not long ago). But I also know it's also a pretty big airport, and I've never had to make a connection like this there. For those of you who know Schiphol well, what do you think? Is 1 hour 50 minutes enough to accomplish a connection like this?

Thanks for your input!

Posted by
4700 posts

Scary - I did exactly the same connection in May 2016: from a Delta flight inbound from the US to Schiphol, outbound to Vilnius on airBaltic 1:50 later. Still a prop plane to Vilnius?

I also worried about the connection time, even though I have done this sort of thing a few times. I always have a backup plan when I do - at least, know what my plan B would be if I missed my flight. In some cases, there's a flight a few hours later even if it would cost me more, but in that case, there was no great option if I missed the airBaltic flight. I'd have to get a lousy flight with one connection somewhere and get into Vilnius very late in the evening or even stay over the night in Amsterdam and try again tomorrow. I think it's important to think about this stuff. (Sometimes, trip interrupt insurance will cover it - find out ahead of time. Some credit cards even offer it. I don't think I had that as an option though.)

In any case, I would have made my connection to Vilnius in time, but the airBaltic flight was late departing by an hour, so of course I had plenty of time. You of course can't count on that...

My situation was easier because I traveled with carry-on bags only (one small suitcase, one "personal item", a large camera bag that will fit under the seat of most larger planes). If there's any possible way you could do carry-ons only, that would make your life a little less stressful. (The airBaltic prop plane was so small that there was no way my larger bag would fit in the overhead bin, so they put it in a little storage closet up front when I boarded. I just picked up the bag as I got off. No hassle, no extra charge.) Otherwise, I'm pretty sure you will have to exit to baggage claim after immigration, collect your bags, re-check them on airBaltic, then go back through security again. (No passport control departing because Lithuania is in the Schengen area.) Might be worth checking with Delta to see if there's any possibility at all of checking bags through on the airBaltic flight, even though they aren't part of Skyteam.

Posted by
7485 posts

Delta guaranteed you will be on time, and first off the plane? And your bags will be first on the carousel?

To use a sport example do you believe the Seahawks will equal the Miami Dolphins as an undefeated super bowl champ in your life time? It certainly is possible, but EVERYTHING has to work perfectly.

I d not have the optimism to book such a trip . It may be possible, but I would not want to be the guinea pig to try it.

I have not been to AMS, yet, so cannot speak from experience, but I look forward to what others have to say.

"Tight or too tight"? Certainly the former and possibly the latter.

Posted by
4700 posts

Joe, I've done this kind of thing several times, actually, connecting to flights or trains that have been pre-booked. It is a risk for sure. (As I said above, doing carry-on bags only reduces the risk somewhat.) But you do need a Plan B and decide ahead of time what you'll do if you miss the connection. Know what the likely consequences will be and accept them ahead of time. Maybe you spend 500 Euros on a later flight or spend the night in Amsterdam and catch a cheaper flight the next day and get to Vilnius a day later or something. Is that the end of the world for you? Or is it a risk you are willing to take? (Or will you have trip interruption insurance that might cover extra costs?)

If not, don't do it - plan to spend the first night in Amsterdam, and don't stress about it.

Posted by
5011 posts

Thanks, both. And I hear you....ordinarily, I would not book this tight a connection - I'm much more happy sitting around an airport for a couple extra hours than running and stressing over making the flight. That said...

Yes, I will have a Plan B in my back pocket (and a Plan C...). There are other options we could utilize that would get us there, later (much later) and at extra cost, which we could pull out if we missed the connection. They're not particularly attractive options, or I would have used them - eg, all other potential connecting flights that day that depart later would increase both the cost (a bit) and the flight time (a LOT), resulting in arriving in Vilnius in the wee hours after stopping in 1-3 Eastern European cities. If we can make the tight connection, it's fairly cheap, and mostly it's quick and simple - getting us to Vilnius by 2 pm. There's only one direct flight I'm finding from AMS to Vilnius, it's the one with a 1 hour 50 minute connection. Otherwise, we go through 1-3 other airports and arrive after midnight. Thus my temptation.

Yes, eliminating the checked bags would streamline things. Alas, that's non-negotiable with my spouse, 'nuff said.

Joe - we will be on the Delta flight from PDX, probably same as you. According to the Baltic Air website, their connecting flight is a 737, so they appear to have upped their game since your trip. Excellent suggestion to investigate if the credit card used may cover costs due to a mis-connect (I know some do and I may have the right one) - thanks.

There's no mention of this on the Delta website (I looked), but the Baltic Air website does claim Delta is a partner for interlining bags - if true, that might streamline things a little (it's also possible Delta might just laugh at that or shrug, I know interline agreements change).

We will be in Vilnius for a few days before we head out to the countryside, so worst case, if we got stuck in Amsterdam overnight, we would have to eat the cost of a hotel there and getting to Vilnius the next day, but our entire trip wouldn't collapse because of it.

I'll need to investigate the distances and other hurdles we will need to pass through at Schiphol - exactly how epic a journey is it going from the Delta arrival gate (international arrivals) to the Baltic Air departure gate (Schengen departures)...at some airports, such things may be close and quick, at others...it might require a time zone change and immunizations.

Thanks for the input thus far. More input from those who know Schiphol well are appreciated.

Posted by
5011 posts

One more minor factor that might work in our favor: we will be traveling in first class (used FF miles) on the inbound Delta flight. That's not to brag, but it means we can be among the first people off the plane, as we will be seated way up front, near the door (as opposed to being seated back in row 239, stuck behind everyone s-l-o-w-l-y shuffling off the plane). That ultimately may or may not make any difference - it would probably help us get in the line to clear immigration faster, but if our bags are late to hit the carousel, clearing immigration fast may not help - we might just be among the first to be at the carousel but our bags could be among the last. Still, I figure it can't hurt to get off the plane quickly.

Posted by
11613 posts

If it comes to it, you could stay at an airport hotel. I stayed at Citizen M, a very short walk to the departure area (perhaps 5-10 minutes' walk with luggage).

Posted by
3173 posts

You keep saying this is a "connection". It in fact is NOT A CONNECTION as these are 2 separate itineraries to your final destination.

Given that you also have the burden of checked luggage, you risk quite easily missing that Baltic Air flight and will have to buy another ticket at full price. You will have to wait for you luggage at the baggage carousel, check it in at Baltic Air ticket window and then go through security which can be quite long. If the Baltic Air itinerary is a roundtrip between Vilnius and Amsterdam, missing that flight to Vilnius cancels that roundtrip in its entirety and you will have to buy another roundtrip.

You also assume your flight on DL will arrive on time. You also aren't including the fact that Vilnius flight could close 20-30 minutes before departure so you will really have 80-90 minutes to deplane the Delta flight, wait for you bags at the baggage carousel, go through security, go through passport control.

Last you assume that even if money is no option and that you can easily afford to buy new tickets on Baltic Air, you assume that the next flight will not be sold out.

This is a bad idea any way you look at it. When I change airlines at Schiphol (and I do that often), I allow 4 hours just in case of inbound delays on Delta alone.

Posted by
21206 posts

We have found that some check-in counters close 45 mins prior to departure so you time between flights could be closer to one hour. I think your choice is either more time or carry on. Make a choice.

Posted by
16066 posts

Baltic Air is flying under a KLM codeshare, so stop worrying. My last change at Schipol in January, we did have 2 hours and 40 minutes, but we sat at the restaurant by our departing gate for an hour eating a second breakfast before our connecting flight boarded. We met another couple flying in from another US city who had a 1 hour and 35 minute change time and they were fine as well. Its a legal connection, published by Delta. It is not guaranteed, of course, nothing is. If your inbound flight is delayed enough that you miss your connection, Delta/KLM will get you on the next available flight to your destination. This is part of flying.

The next Air Baltic flight to Vilnius is not until 6:50 pm with a connection in Riga, so if you get stuck, might as well go into Amsterdam for a few hours.

Posted by
4700 posts

David, if you can interline your bags with Delta, then I wouldn't worry and just do this. Especially if you are flying first class on Delta. I would call them ahead of time to confirm that you really can check your bags through to Vilnius.

As long as you know what Plan B is if you wind up landing in Amsterdam two hours late and are prepared to accept it, no problem. Just do it.

Sounds like you really are following me - I flew direct from PDX as well. Good for you that airBaltic has upgraded to jet service on that route! I took the #88 mini-bus from the airport to the center of town (bought a day pass at the convenience store inside the airport), so if you want to follow me even further...

I was just referring to my trip report, and I see now that security changed right before my trip and that one no longer needs to pass through security after immigration at Schiphol when connecting to a Schengen flight, so if your bags are checked through, all you'll have to do is pass through immigration then take the long hike to your airBaltic gate, as I did. Also see that my flight to Vilnius was two hours late not one, so I had quite a bit of extra time at Schiphol.

Posted by
3173 posts

Sam's advice about "stop worrying" doesn't apply to David because he has two separately purchased tickets which are not connected even if KLM has an "interline". David said so himself:

We will be on separate tickets (that is, our inbound Delta ticket is
not connected to our connecting Baltic Air ticket).

If you choose to keep this itinerary and have no budget constraints about buying new Baltic Air tickets at Schiphol, then roll the dice. I would follow Frank's advice to not check in your bags because even if you have no problem affording a new ticket purchase on Baltic, it doesn't mean that Baltic Air actually has seats available on the next flight to Vilnius; they could be oversold. Factor in overnighting in Amsterdam especially if you check in bags. Remember, you would have to wait for the bags at the carousel, check in your bag at Baltic Air, wait on line at security and then wait on line at passport control. If the Baltic Air gates close 45 minutes early as Frank mentioned, you'd only have an hour AT BEST to do all in the previous sentence assuming your flight is on time, you're the first off the plane and not waiting 15 minutes just to deplane.

Posted by
7485 posts

The Delta website shows that 1st class gets 'priority' ( expedited) baggage handling. One thing in your favor.

Good luck!

PS when does this trip happen? suspect I am not the only one who is curious about how this turns out

Posted by
5011 posts

Update, for anyone interested...

We went ahead and booked the onward flight from AMS to VNO with the tight connection.

The flight times have shifted by just a few minutes, the connection time in AMS is now exactly 2 hours. I think we have a reasonably good chance of making that, but we do have backup plans...

Since we needed a checked bag anyway, we purchased the "premium" tickets on AirBaltic (LCC, so everything is a la carte), which comes with several extras - checked baggage and the ability to change to another flight and apply the ticket price to that flight. There's a later (much later) AirBaltic flight going out to VNO that night. While there's no guarantee there will be space on that later flight, IF we miss our first flight we should be able to try for the later flight and only pay a relatively small fee to change it (50 Euro per person), rather than having to toss the original ticket and buy one on the spot at full price. If we miss the first flight, we will store our bags and go in to Amsterdam for a few hours (later flight leaves about 7-8 hours later). In a pinch, we could spend the night and go out the next day.

It'll still be tight, but I will see if Delta will interline the checked bags (I'm skeptical bit will give it a try). We should also have the ability to check-in for our AirBaltic flight online (paid .99 Euro for that option), assuming we can get a wifi signal once we're in the airport, that could save us a few minutes. So we will charge off the plane and do our best to get our bags and our selves to the AirBaltic gate quickly. And worst case, if we don't make it, we have other options. If we do make the connection, we will get to Vilnius by 1:40 pm, which would give us a "bonus half day" to explore and start adjusting, so I figured it's worth the risk (the later flight arrives at midnight). We will have two more full days in Vilnius before we head out overland.

@Andrew H - I will look for that #88 mini-bus to town (although I will probably look at alternatives too, once I figure out our accommodation plans).

This is part of a roughly 3-week trip to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, with 3 "bonus" days in Krakow at the end before flying home from Warsaw. End of June/first 2.5 weeks of July 2018. I'll post my itinerary as it evolves (in a separate thread).

Thanks to all who provided input!

Posted by
3173 posts

David, it looks like you've got your bases covered. Good going and have a great time!

Posted by
4700 posts

Yeah, I think you have a good chance of making that connection and seem to have better backup plans than I had when doing the connection in 2016! My backup plan was probably to spend the night in Amsterdam and fly out the next morning.

I don't recall needing to pay extra to check in online with airBaltic - maybe things have changed? I checked in for the my airBaltic flight online before leaving the US.

Free WiFi at Schiphol worked great for me - I've made free WiFi phone calls on it. But consider getting a cell phone or SIM for Europe if you don't have one. You can buy a Dutch Vodafone SIM on eBay (see my thread in the technology section) - you don't even need to visit the Netherlands to get/use/activate it (even though you are passing through Amsterdam). Will work all over the EU with no roaming fees for data. I used my phone extensively in Vilnius, Riga, and Tallinn to get walking directions and navigate the buses in real time (Google Maps) - very helpful, saved an enormous amount of time. I bought a 3-day transit pass for Vilnius at a convenience store at the airport (including the #88 minibus), and with Google Maps guiding me, I could go anywhere at will on the unlimited pass - very easy. One doesn't really need to use the buses to explore old town Vilnius, but if you want to get to some out-of-the-way places like military cemeteries, it sure helps!

Posted by
3173 posts

Free WiFi at Schiphol worked great for me - I've made free WiFi phone
calls on it.

I'm not sure if this is accurate now (or if my memory is in fact accurate) but AMS had a 2 hour time limit for free wifi I think 2-3 years ago. So if you have more than one smartphone and/or a wifi-enabled tablet, don't use them simultaneously. Use them consecutively if you're stuck at AMS for several hours. Maybe by now it's unlimited free wifi.

Posted by
5011 posts

Thanks. We went through Schiphol this past September, and as I recall the free airport wifi there was ubiquitous and perfectly functional, but limited to a fixed period (don't recall how long but it was plenty, ie an hour or so). We also have a pocket wifi device that works there. So one way or another, we should have connectivity as soon as we step off the arriving flight, and I think we should be covered there.

It's not clear to me how far in advance we can do online check-in for our BalticAir flight, but we will attempt to do so before we leave home (or at least before we board the PDX-AMS flight). From home, from SEA or while zooming through PDX. If that works, one less task to perform at Schiphol.

I'm feeling fairly confident this will all work out - as long as the flights to AMS are not delayed!

Posted by
14327 posts

I did something similar, though a lot less daring, flying through Warsaw to Gdansk. After booking and worrying a lot, at someone's suggestion I phoned El Al and they told me there'd be no problem interlining to Gdansk though I was ticketed separately on Lot Air - just be sure to ask for it at the airport. When I check in at TLV, they tagged my bag to Gdansk and gave me a boarding pass for my Lot flight.

If you can't use interlining, will you have to clear customs (and be landside), then check in for the next flight and go through security? I seem to remember AMS being odd in that security for flights is at each gate.

Posted by
5011 posts

Here's an update to our plans, with a request for some help with in-airport navigation to plan our route through Schiphol...

Overall plan remains the same: we're flying SEA-AMS on a Delta FF award ticket, then upon arrival in Schiphol we're changing airlines/planes to go out on AirBaltic AMS-VNO (paid). These flights are on two separate tickets (a complication) and the connection time in AMS is tight: 1 hour 50 minutes, assuming both flights run as scheduled (a challenge, but one I have accepted). A minor detail or two have changed (our original routing had us starting SEA-PDX on Delta then with a short connection there to PDX-AMS for the TATL flight; due to a Delta schedule change, I was able to switch to an equivalent non-stop flight from SEA-AMS, which will streamline things a bit for us, but ironically the scheduled arrival time into AMS is exactly the same, so it won't help us with the tight connection in AMS).

My questions, for those more familiar with Schiphol than I am, are about planning my route through the airport once we step off the plane.

Im trying to figure out where in the airport my inbound Delta flight will arrive (I'm finding lots of conflicting info on that - no two sources seem to agree on even what "terminals" or "concourses" are called there, and every source seems to use it's own terminology...). It seems that there's really just one sprawling "terminal" with about 6 (or maybe 9) "piers" (depending how you count them). The "Piers" (perhaps what some of us might call a "Concours" or section) are usually (but not always) designated alphabetically: Pier B, C, D, E, F, and G, with G having been sub-divided into "Platforms" confusingly designated as G, H, J and Y. OK, fine (the designer/planner in me just does eye-rolls and forehead smacks, but OK, I don't get to design the world)...

Then I'm looking for where my next flight departs from. And what choke-points I'll need to get through on the way. I'm surprised and dismayed at how difficult this task is - not the actual navigation, just getting a picture of where these places are. And I'm sitting here at a computer connected to the internet with lots of time and resources - god help the exhausted traveler stumbling off a red-eye trying to find their way...

I'm trying to get a sense of where to go when we charge off the plane, so we're not running around like headless chickens. I'm a map guy. I can follow a diagram. Even without a GPS, I usually know which way is north. But so far I've been stymied trying to get a picture of where I will begin in this airport (Delta arrival gate) and where I need to exit it (AirBaltic departure gate).

As best I can tell, it appears that Delta's international flights from North America generally arrive in "Pier D" or maybe "Pier E", although most official-looking (or at least somewhat credible-looking) sources claim these flights arrive in "Terminal 3" (gee, thanks).

It appears that AirBaltic, the flight I need to connect to there, departs from "Hall 2" (oh, great, yet another designation....hey, why don't they designate some departure gates using Roman Numerals, Binary or Hexadecimal? Yeah, just head for Gate LVIII, in Concourse 0b111001, that's in Terminal 0x11...)

Can anyone here provide real-world details on 1) where Delta flights from North America typically pull up, and 2) where AirBaltic flights depart from?

Once armed with those seemingly inscrutable details, I may have some questions about the most efficient path to follow between them.

Thank you for the assistance!

Posted by
5011 posts

BTW, some other updated data points:

  • Delta tells me that yes, they do have an interline agreement with AirBaltic, so bags can be checked through - in theory. But if one is traveling on two separate tickets (as I am), they can not check bags through. In my case, my Delta flight is an award ticket, and my AirBaltic flight is on a paid ticket, so they can't combine them. This may complicate out baggage plan.
  • Knowing that, I'll still give it a try even though it may be a longshot: I'll try to be already checked in for my AirBaltic flight and will try to have boarding passes printed out. Upon checking in with Delta for the SEA-AMS flight I'll see if I can sweet-talk them into checking the bags through to VNO. I doubt that'll work, but it can't hurt to try.
  • My wife prefers to check a bag. I'm currently negotiating this with her, suggesting carry-on is best given our challenges - we'll see how that goes.
  • If we do just do carry-on, that might simplify things a bit. It would at least eliminate our needing to wait for checked bags to hit the carousel before we proceed onward, and any time savings would be helpful (OTOH, if we have to drag more bags the length of the airport, it might slow us down enough that it might negate some of that time saved, so if we can get 'em then re-check 'em soon after, that would allow us to move faster through the airport maze).
  • I've been checking on-time performance for our flights. Of course, past performance is no guarantee of future results, but it's useful to have some perspective. The AirBaltic flight often (in fact, usually) departs late, but usually not too late (average is just 10 minutes later than scheduled departure). The Delta flight usually is on time, and regularly arrives early (although occasionally late, too). None of that can be relied on, of course.
  • We do still have a Plan B (and a Plan C) in our back pockets in case we miss the connection, but if we make it, we get an "extra day" (well, an afternoon and evening) in Vilnius, so we're going to try hard to make that connection.
Posted by
4700 posts

David, when I did this connection two years ago, I did some of the same "war gaming" about Schiphol that you are trying to do. I would say it was a waste of time, and given that you have now committed to it anyway, there probably isn't anything to gain. Schiphol is well signed and well organized. When I got off the plane there, I following the herd to the immigration lines, then after that found my flight on the departures board, figured out the gate, and just followed the signs on to that gate.

I would be concerned if you can't check your bags through, because as I understand it (haven't ever dealt with checked bags at Schiphol), you must exit the secure zone, retrieve your bags, then go back to airBaltic's check-in counter to check them again...then go back through security and on to your gate. That's going to add - 30 minutes minimum to your connection time, maybe more? I think it significantly reduces your odds of making the connection.

If you want to confirm what the routine is, I'd probably hop on FlyerTalk and ask there - there are business travelers to go through Schiphol monthly and really know the routine well and what you'll have to do (I'd ignore older posts about Schiphol connections - things have changed over the years).

Or...just accept your backup plan and feel grateful if you actually make your connection. Good luck!

Posted by
3173 posts

Delta tells me that yes, they do have an interline agreement with
AirBaltic, so bags can be checked through - in theory. But if one is
traveling on two separate tickets (as I am), they can not check bags
through. In my case, my Delta flight is an award ticket, and my
AirBaltic flight is on a paid ticket, so they can't combine them. This
may complicate out baggage plan.

If there is an interline agreement, it may be worth your while to call Delta back and speak to another agent. Even with an award ticket and a paid Air Baltic, you might find an agent who will link the itinerary thereby giving you the option of checking all the way through to your destination.

My wife prefers to check a bag. I'm currently negotiating this with
her, suggesting carry-on is best given our challenges - we'll see how
that goes.

If you can't find an agent able to link your reservation, you need to tell her to travel with carry on only. Women like myself travel carryon only ALL THE TIME for both business and leisure. Encourage her to join this forum and ask any question about this she'd like! :-)

Posted by
5011 posts

Andrew - Yeah, the lack of clear info on the airport layout and what to expect is frustrating (and surprising, at least to me - as you say, the airport seems to function well once you're there immersed in it, so I'd expect that basic info about the airport layout would also be well set up and easy to find - not so IME). Yeah, I was perusing FT as well, I'll post specific questions there from frequent Schiphol users.

When I got off the plane there, I following the herd to the immigration lines, then after that found my flight on the departures board, figured out the gate, and just followed the signs on to that gate.

Yes, I get it that this is what ultimately will happen - gate assignments are fluid, no guarantees that what happened yesterday will happen tomorrow, etc., we will roll with the punches as always. Still, I figure due diligence and all will help and can't hurt.

I would be concerned if you can't check your bags through, because as I understand it (haven't ever dealt with checked bags at Schiphol), you must exit the secure zone, retrieve your bags, then go back to airBaltic's check-in counter to check them again...then go back through security and on to your gate. That's going to add - 30 minutes minimum to your connection time, maybe more...

And that right there is exactly what I'm looking to avoid.

It seems evident that we probably won't be able to check bags all the way through (we certainly can't count on it). So that puts more pressure on my DW to get OK with carry-on only (at least for the first flight). I would be fine with that, it's still an active discussion with her.

As an added wrinkle, the baggage limits on AirBaltic are pretty tight (the SEA-AMS flight on Delta will certainly present no baggage issues). We can, if we want, check one bag on AirBaltic - and I'm guessing we will probably need to, given their tight baggage limits (just 8 kg combined for the cabin). So, lets say we carry-on our bags for SEA-AMS - that saves us the time of waiting to grab checked bags. Then after skipping through immigration, going through the "Nothing to declare" door, we locate the departure gate, we skedaddle there, then we would need to check one bag (within Delta's carry-on limits, but exceeding AirBaltic's)...that would work if (and only if) we can gate-check the bag at the AirBaltic departure gate. Hmmm.

OK, that seems to be the most efficient way to go - as long as I can validate that assumption (that we can just gate check a bag, without having to exit the secure area, check at the AirBaltic counter, then re-clear security, etc.).

Posted by
5011 posts

If there is an interline agreement, it may be worth your while to call Delta back and speak to another agent. Even with an award ticket and a paid Air Baltic, you might find an agent who will link the itinerary thereby giving you the option of checking all the way through to your destination.

Yes, I'm very familiar with the potential benefits of HUCA ("hang up and call again") if you don't first get the answer you want. :) I plan to continue trying, but at this point I'm not going to count on it.

Women like myself travel carryon only ALL THE TIME for both business and leisure. Encourage her to join this forum and ask any question about this she'd like! :-)

I know, I know....but domestic tranquility has it's benefits, too. :-) As I said, the negotiations are still in progress. I'm currently in the process of building cardboard models to illustrate the baggage limits on AirBaltic for her (it's harder to wave away reality when you're looking at it with your bag side-by-side...). We'll see how that goes over.

I note that AirBaltic's fine for last-minute bag check is 60 Euros if your carry-on exceeds 8 kg total weight or their small dimensions...

Posted by
4700 posts

If I didn't mention this above: when I got on the airBaltic plane to Vilnius (a prop plane - but yours will be a small jet instead?), the flight attendant saw my 22" carry-on bag and asked that I put it in a (locked) storage closet at the front of the plane - it clearly wouldn't fit in the overhead storage bin. So I did this - no charge, and I was one of the few passengers doing this. (I also had a large camera bag as my "personal item.") I simply retrieved my 22" bag from this closest as I got off the plane. I'm guessing I could have also gate checked the bag before getting on.

Posted by
5011 posts

Good to know.

I will have a max-carry-on-size soft backpack, plus a smaller day-pack (the "goodies bag" - filled with the photo gear and fragile electronics). My personal struggle will be to keep the goodies bag under their 8 kg limit. Yes, the AMS-VNO flight is supposedly a 737-700 so physical carry-on capacity on board should align with what we're used to domestically; we just need to stay within their policy limits.

Hopefully gate-checking the larger of our two carry-on bags will be an option. I'm reaching out to them now - see what kind of a response I get...

Thanks for all the shared/learned experiences!

Posted by
7485 posts

Sure hope you can gate check your bags. If not, it looks like the 30-40 minute pre-flight requirement for bags to be dropped at the bag check--in counter could pose an interesting challenge.

Good Luck!

Posted by
4700 posts

David, I would not worry about the weight requirements of the bags too much for airBaltic. I've flown a number of these airlines in Europe, and with one exception no one has ever cared about the size of my carry-on bags. Once, KLM gate agents insisted I check my small bag on a flight from Milan to Amsterdam because the plane was full with an athletic team carrying a bunch of gear. (And easyJet - but they are a special case, known to be extremely strict.) Otherwise, no one has ever cared.