What time do I need to arrive at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol?

There is one question that’s always on your mind the day before departure: what time do I need to arrive at Schiphol? This is a good moment to check your airline’s website for the most up-to-date flight times. Generally, you can check-in two hours before departure for European flight services and three hours before departure for intercontinental flight services. Why do you need to be at the airport so long before your flight? And why should you not arrive at the airport too early?

No earlier, but no later

Let’s start by answering the second question. There’s not much point getting to the departure hall too early. The check-in desk probably won’t be open yet and you will be left waiting for longer than necessary. You may think you should arrive early as the airport will be busy, but this actually makes the airport even busier, as there are more people in the terminal for a longer period of time. However, you definitely shouldn’t arrive much later than the recommended time. People who are only travelling with hand baggage often think: “I only need to go through security so an hour will be more than enough time.” But it could take longer, especially if the airport is full of holidaymakers. If everyone arrives at the time recommended by their airline, then there is less chance of anyone missing their flight. Remember to check for traffic updates before leaving for the airport!


How busy is Amsterdam Airport Schiphol?

Let us be clear: Schiphol can get really busy during holiday periods. More than 200,000 people use the airport every day. On peak days there are over 80,000 travellers in the departure halls during the course of the day. That’s four times the capacity of the Olympic Stadium! But if you arrive prepared, you will know what to expect. Check how busy the airport is going to be on your day of departure so you know if you can expect longer waiting times. And always check the flight information for your flight on the day of departure.


Why are there queues?

As so many people want to fly at the same time, it’s only logical that they have to queue. After all, all travellers have to go through Security Control after checking in, and a large number also have to go through Passport Control before they can go to their gate. Our aim is to make sure everyone can embark on their journey as quickly, as comfortably and as safely as possible. But security is our main concern. For this reason, we carry out thorough security controls at the security check points, and the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee checks all passports at the border passage. We are sure you will agree that diligence is more important than speed when it comes to these security checks. The more travellers that need to be checked, the longer these checks take. This may mean that you have to queue for longer than usual.


Be well prepared for your journey

You can help speed up the queues. You will be able to go through the security check more quickly if you are well prepared for your journey. This starts at home, when packing your hand baggage and hold baggage. Which items may and may not be taken on board? Will you need to remove your liquids and laptop from your hand baggage? Read all our handy tips on our website. Have a great holiday!