It’s a common question. "I only have xx minutes to transfer at Schiphol, will I make it?"


Basically, minimum transfer time at Schiphol is 40 minutes.  However Schiphol is a large busy airport, and the question about making your connection depends on a few different factors. Since arrivals and departures are not actually separate buildings, one can easily walk from one to the other. BUT be aware this could take up to 30 minutes.

The airport is divided into Schengen (EU) and Non Schengen zones (see below).  If you are travelling Schengen to Schengen, or Non Schengen to Non Schengen, there will be no immigration checks.  There are no security checks at the gates.

Those arriving from non-compatible destinations will be screened separately from other flights before being allowed entry. Passengers travelling from Non Schengen (such as the U.S.) to Schengen (EU) will go through passport control.  But you will not go through security, so you can take drinks or water with you to your next flight. You will also be able to buy duty free items (as long as your point of origin is on the safe list), without it being confiscated.   For more info:  

Since passengers are asked to be at their departure gate for intercontinental flights at least an hour prior to departure, they should allow at least 1hr15mins between scheduled inbound arrival time and scheduled outbound flight. Airlines do sell shorter connections than this, but time may not be adequate. In early morning, many flights arrive from the far east and also transatlantic night flights, so certain transfer points can get very busy.

There is a fast-track line for passengers with short connection times. If you have less than 50 minutes connection time, check the screen above the marked lane to see if you quality.  This does not mean you can wander around the airport until you have less than 50 minutes; only specific flights are eligible. The fast-track is accessible for passengers going to Paris on KL-AF and for most business/first class passengers.  From this point to the furthest gates on Piers B & C, it can take 15 to 20 minutes walking time.

Probably the easiest connection is Schengen to Schengen (countries within the EU), requiring neither immigration nor security checks. One should easily make such a connection within 40 minutes.

If one must go to a transfer desk for an onward boarding pass, it's best to allow much more time. If you are using a budget airline and have luggage to collect, or you need to re check-in, then allow three hours.

If your onward flight is on KLM Cityhopper, or an airline using small regional planes such as Fokker 100 or 70, or Embraer, you are likely to be bussed to your aircraft. Gate D6 is a collection of gates D6a, D6b etc where passengers are bussed. These gates board earlier than gates with the aircraft actually at the gate.  Once the bus has gone you will be left, so be aware of this. There are similar gates for bus connections at the B-pier.

KLM agents are usually present to assist passengers connecting to KLM flights.  They are stationed at the self-service flight check-in machines where passengers scan their passport and get boarding documents.  Passengers arriving from the U.S. can get fast help at these stations when they come off their transatlantic flights.


General airport information 


Schiphol Airport is well designed with lots to do and see, including fine art. On display are genuine Rembrandts, Vermeers and other old Dutch masters from the Rijksmuseum. If you did not get the chance to see any of Amsterdam's world class museums, then check it out for free between piers E & F.

For the smokers there are designated smoking areas on all piers, normally in an enclosed area of one of the many cafe's and bars.

 After main security, there's the usual airport shopping, bars, a bookshop selling English-language books; a McDonalds with wifi work area; and a few other small places to eat.

Passengers have free access to small trolleys for hand-baggage, a nice touch. 

If you have a long layover at the airport there is a pod type hotel called the Yotel where one can rent a room in four hour stretches. The tiny rooms have a shower, wifi and TV. The Mercure Airport Terminal has a similar motel with minimum rental time of eight hours, and separate showers for hire. Finally on the top floor of non-Schengen zone there are reclining chairs suitable to some extent for resting..

There are a few Xpress Spas in the airport where you can get a quick massage. 

There is unlimited free wi-fi throughout the airport.  

A public library in the airport offers ipads, and a selection of both Dutch and English literature.