The jpoc guide to Transfers at Schiphol airport
I wrote this page because a number of people on the Russian Women Mailing List were asking about the subject.
The reason was that their fiancee was travelling from, for example, Kiev to Chicago via Schiphol. The most important thing to say about this is that there is nothing to worry about. This is a very large airport, despite the fact that it is based in a small country and the reason for its size is the success of its transfer operations.
Every time that I have flown on a transfer through here, my luggage has been forwarded to the onward flight without me having to do anything. Also, I have always been given a boarding card for the onward flight when I first checked in at the start of my journey.
So, when you get off the first flight, you will alreay know the gate number for onward connection and you can easily follow the signs. (Bright yelloy with big clear black letters.)
The last time that I was there, I made a point of timing myself. I first went to a transfer desk and changed the seat reservation for my onward flight and then I went to the shops and browsed for a while. After that, I went to the frequent flyer desk to check my frequent flyer status with KLM. Finally, I wandered off to a bar close to my gate, bought a coffee and a sandwich and went to sit down. I looked at my watch, it was just fifty minutes since my inbound aircraft first touched the tarmac on the runway. Eliminate the thirty minutes that I spent wandring about and I could have made a twenty minute connection without even walking quickly.
The airport is divided into Schengen and non-Schengen areas. There is passport control between these two areas but if the inbound and outbound flights are both non-Schengen (or both Schengen) then, there will be no need for passport checks or transit visas.
The non-Schengen area of the airport is smaller than the Schengen area but it still has a decent supply of shops and, when I've been there at least, it is easier to find a place to sit in one of the bars and cafes.
It's best to arrive there with some Dutch Guilders (or soon with Euro) or plastic. There are money changing facilities but it would be a shame to arrive at an odd time when they are closed and to be stuck with a currency that you couldn't change. (Of course, you will not be able to change Roubles and if Dutch currency is unavailable beforehand, try to get some dollars or DMarks.
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