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55min layover in Amsterdam

Hey all

I am about to fly to Spain in January. It is my first time flying (since I was very young, which I don't remember). My Flight is Northwest from Detroit to Amsterdam. After landing in Amsterdam, I have a 55 minute layover before going on a flight operated by KLM from Amsterdam to Madrid.

My questions are:
1. Am I going to be able make my connection in 55 minutes?
2. What will happen if I don't make the connection?
3. Is there any way I can find out in advance how the Amsterdam airport it laid out so I don't have to figure that out when I land (& so I don't get lost)?

P.S. I am only bringing a carry-on, so I won't have to worry about my luggage.
Thanks

Posted by
17899 posts

You'll find a lot of info on the airport at www.schiphol.nl. I haven't looked at it yet, but you'll probably find maps and maybe information about flights and the gates they are using.

Posted by
21032 posts

It could be tight. But if you are ticket through to Madrid by KLM then they will be responsible for you if you miss the flight to Madrid. They will put you on the next plane to Madrid but there could be a couple hours delay.

Posted by
17899 posts

Just remember, that with a trans-Atlantic flight, you can never be sure that they will arrive on time. In 2008, I was on a flight that was over an hour late leaving Denver but made up some time, was still an hour late in FRA. I've been on a number of late flights, few were early. However, I'm sure that KLM will take care of you. The flight from Detroit probably arrives in Amsterdam in early morning; there are probably a lot of flights all day from Amsterdam to Madrid.

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks for the info everyone, I'm sure it will work out fine, I was just curious what others thought.

Posted by
2020 posts

Andrew, we frequently connect in Amsterdam and have found that a one-hour lay-over is not easy but that it can be done. We had to be really pushy going through passport control. We had been told there was one window that was for short connections but we sure couldn't find it and no one on the ground knew anything about it. We did manage to laugh at ourselves afterwards at how funny we looked scrambling and running for our gate.

Posted by
8 posts

I'm still confused about one thing: I know that if my transatlantic flight is late, causing me to miss my connection, I will be put on the next flight to Madrid. But, what if my flight in to Amsterdam IS on time and I simply can't make it through to get on my flight to Madrid?

Posted by
8939 posts

If the transatlantic flight is on-time they'll still put you on a later flight, if you don't make it to your original connecting flight. Sometimes there are long lines at the immigration checkpoint, so it's not uncommon for people to be held up because of that. Also, with such a tight connection I wouldn't check any bags. Even if you manage to make it to your flight, your checked bags may not be so lucky.

Posted by
990 posts

Check out www.schiphol.nl, click on the British flag in the top right corner to get an English language version of the Amsterdam airport website. Browse for gate information and maps there.

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks
Sorry for such simple questions, I'm new to all of this, and I want to know as much in advance as possible (knowledge is power, right?)
Just FYI, Northwest's site (NWA.com) has a simple map of Schiphol, which I just found
Thanks

Posted by
8939 posts

It's almost impossible to get lost at Schipol Airport. All the gates are contained under one giant building (terminal), connected by a single corridor that runs the length of the building that will lead you the the various terminal wings that lead to the gates. As long as you keep a look out for the signs that point to your gate number you can't get lost.

Posted by
1449 posts

I just want to point out that the "next available flight" while fine in principle may not work so well in practice. Available means a flight with seats, and the way airlines have been cutting flights in order to boost their load factor there may not be another flight for quite some time. I hope the connection works out for you, but if it was me I'd choose a later connection.

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks for the heads-up, Mike. I was thinking about that myself, but then I thought surely they must keep a couple seats open on purpose for just such an occasion. Unfortunately, I have already purchased the ticket and can't change anything. Anyways, I don't have to be in Madrid at a specific time, and I don't think Amsterdam is such a bad place to be stuck. Speaking of which, does anyone know approximately how much time I would need to be safe leaving the airport to explore Amsterdam (even if it just means turning right back around as soon as I get there) so I can say I've seen the city?

Posted by
9339 posts

Six hours minimum....half of which you should spend in one of Amsterdam's coffee houses. You'll probably miss your connection but you won't care.

Posted by
8 posts

Frank II,

My thoughts exactly. Can I just skip my connection and show up later? lol It would be the perfect start to my semester abroad.

Posted by
1001 posts

Andrew have a wonderful semester abroad! Our son (just graduated college in May '09) spent the fall semester 2007 in Vienna, Austria. It was a wonderful experience for him and he was able to travel to many other places while there. At that time he had traveled to Europe with us on 7 occasions (incl. Vienna) but as a mother I was still worried about connecting flights, etc. Everything went very smoothly and I realized I had nothing to worry about. He still keeps in touch with kids he met while in Vienna and while in Copenhagen this past May was able to meet up with one of his friends. Schipol Airport is very easy to find your way around with excellent signs and all in English. Have a great time abroad!

Posted by
9339 posts

Don't skip your flight on purpose. The airlines don't take kindly to it.

Posted by
1357 posts

Check the KLM website and see when the other flights are to Madrid that day. You can get a ballpark for what you'll be looking at if you miss your first flight. You might even want to print it out and keep it with you.

As far as making the next flight, airlines don't "hold" seats in case people get bumped. They typically overbook flights since they have a 10-15% no-show rate. If you are a full-fare paying customer and miss your connection, you will be given priority in getting on the next flight, as long as they have seats, which they probably will. I've flown standby for over 10 years, and we've rarely been bumped. We've gotten seats on flights that were oversold.

Posted by
8939 posts

In addition, KLM can also get you to Madrid via a partner airline connecting through another airport. One way or another KLM will get you to Madrid, the last thing they want to do is spend extra money to put you up in a hotel overnight.

Posted by
8 posts

OK I got it. No skipping my connection flight. My flight leaves Schiphol at 0650 and the next flight to Madrid is at 0935. So chances are I'll be put on that one. If not, the next one isn't until 1330. Let's hope that one at 0935 is full, so I can go explore the city for a little while. It's just such a bummer to be so close to Amsterdam but unable to actually visit the city. Maybe another time. Thanks for all the info everyone.

Posted by
349 posts

If you miss connection there is a small art museum with world class art in terminal ask to find it

Posted by
430 posts

Ummmm... some interesting advice there.

Definitley check out www.schiphol.nl to familarize yourself. While the transatlantic flight being on time carries some risk, the Amsterdam airport does not. It is very efficiently laid out and a 55 minute connection is a piece of cake as long as you don't dilly dally. (I made a 65 minute connection, Northwest out of Boston to KLM to Zurich -- with my 2 year old son and 5-month pregnant wife.)

If you miss it, the 9:30-ish flight will give you time to have a nice coffee and relax.

If you get bumped all the way to the 1:30 flight, do not try to go into Amsterdam and come back!! Stay inside security or you will have to endure international security check-in a second time! Just chill out, do some reading, have another coffee, and focus on Spain.

(By the way, I'm jealous... I haven't been to Spain in years...)

Posted by
14241 posts

I flew to Chicago through Schiphol in October with a 1 hour connection and was worried, needlessly it turned out. First of all, you do NOT go through passport control or customs. You simply get off the plane, find the board with departures, find your next flight and the GATE NUMBER and head for it. It will probably take you less than 20 minutes from any arrival gate to any departure gate. When you get to the departure gate, you will have to go through a security check, and there will probably be a line. Depending on the time and the length of the line, you are likely to have time to buy some souvenirs. If your flight into Schiphol is not too delayed, they may even hold the Madrid flight for you.

If you decide to take checked luggage, it will be transferred to your connecting flight, you won't see it till you get to Madrid.

Posted by
8939 posts

Connecting from a transatlantic flight to a flight to Spain, one does have to pass through passport control at Schipol. Only for flights heading to/from non-schengen countries do you bypass passport control....like a connecting flight from Israel to the US.