Where’s the barnyard mess?


Did you know that dogs, horses, alpacas and kangaroos come to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol on a regular basis? They even have their own ‘terminal’: the KLM Animal Hotel.

​The KLM Animal Hotel is located close to Schiphol. Although we refer to it as a hotel, you can’t actually book a room for your dog or cat. The hotel provides temporary refuge and care for animals that are flying with KLM and have a transfer at Schiphol.

Dogs and alpacas
As soon as you enter the Animal Hotel, you can hear birds chirping, dogs barking and horses neighing. It’s like a zoo! There are all sorts of animals. The hotel mainly looks after dogs and cats (25,000 per year), horses (6,000 per year) and chickens (as many as 22 million per year), but it also provides care for pandas, alpacas, kangaroos, rays, Koi carp and tigers.

Boarding pass and passport, please
If an animal is heading to a destination within Europe, then an employee from the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) checks that the animal is in good health and has the correct documents. This is comparable to a visa. A member of staff at the Animal Hotel puts a sticker with the animal’s flight details on its travel kennel or crate. This sticker is very much like a boarding pass. Did you know that animals such as dogs and horses also have their own passport? The passport contains details of the animal’s weight, age and vaccination record. The transport department takes the animal to the aircraft a couple of hours before departure.

Animal Steward
Everyone who works at the Animal Hotel has completed an animal care course. Some are also specialised animal stewards who fly with the animals. Animal stewards are usually required to accompany horses on a flight. When animals arrive at the Animal Hotel, the staff check whether they are in good health. A vet is on standby if there is any doubt.