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My flight leaves from Amsterdam at 7:00 AM. I'm flying to another country within the Schengen Area, which means no passport control. In the good old days of efficient Schiphol (sigh...), I would have checked out of my hotel at 5AM, taken a taxi, showed up at the airline "balie" at 6:15AM, and I still would have had plenty of time to grab a coffee on the way to the gate. According to most reports, waiting times in Schiphol average 4 hours these days. My questions are:

  • Does this still apply for early morning flights? Because if it does, I'd need to wake up at around 1AM, leave the hotel at 2, and show up at the airport at 3(!).
  • What sort of priority will I get if I book a business class ticket? I could do so, but it's nonsense if 95% of the waiting time is spent on the line outside the airport, which I assume has no priority for business ticket holders (I may be wrong on this, but I have not found information saying otherwise.)
  • I could rebook my flight through Eindhoven. There are flights leaving to my destination at around the same hour (I have a late meeting the day before the flight and need to be at my destination in the afternoon the next day. Therefore, leaving early is a must whether I travel through Schiphol or Eindhoven) Will this afford me a shorter waiting time?
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  • Is your destination with in the Schengen Area (EU except Ireland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania; plus Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway)? EU means nothing for flights procedures (other than for customs control at the destination, which in most case does not add time for passengers).
    – xngtng
    Oct 17 at 9:15
  • It's within the Schengen Area. I'll edit the question to clarify this.
    – je2018
    Oct 17 at 9:19
  • I wouldn't rebook through Eindhoven. It's also having major problems
    – jdouglas
    Oct 17 at 10:45
  • Waiting times certainly don't average 4 hours these days. 4 hours before departure is actually the earliest you are even allowed into the airport, so that should be the practical maximum even in the most peak times. And even at times of total meltdown earlier this year, the situation was nowhere near as bad as a 4-hour wait early in the morning. Worst I had in May was about an hour to security for a 7 AM flight.
    – TooTea
    Oct 17 at 11:27
  • Don't think business class helps much. Schengen travel means no passport control but luggage inspection has often been the main bottleneck and some of the worse experience I have seen were for Schengen-bound flights.
    – Relaxed
    Oct 17 at 16:56

1 Answer 1

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Personal experience - I did some flying this year on early/morning flights. In my experience, I passed security in less than an hour max, and generally, it was 15-20 minutes.

I flew at 07:00 last Wednesday to EU, and I arrived in Schiphol at 04:40. I whatsapped to my wife that I passed security at 05:02 and was around the gate at 05:11.

I had only the hand luggage, and for the past trip, I was not stopped for the additional check.

So the next time for this flight, I will arrive after 5 AM at the airport.

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    I flew on Wednesday afternoon and the queues were at pre-pandemic levels (well, ignoring the strikes of the security staff back then), 20 mins to main security. Much better still for the dedicated low-cost (EasyJet&co.) security, that's practically queue-less most of the time these days.
    – TooTea
    Oct 17 at 11:32
  • @TooTea Why are low-cost queue-less these days? Shouldn't it be the other way around? The big airlines having less passengers?
    – je2018
    Oct 17 at 12:28
  • Note: around 7:00 airport will be busier then normal (businesses travel times), but I agree, it will not take too much. Oct 17 at 12:28
  • @je2018 Not sure if you're familiar with Schiphol, but there's one big security area for most of the airport, plus one separate small "terminal" with its own security for the low-costs (H/M gates). That separate section never had longer queues than the main section, simply because there's less flights passing through that section and there also used to be less thorough scrutiny for these flights (e.g. there weren't any body scanners in this section until recently, unlike the main security area).
    – TooTea
    Oct 17 at 12:32
  • @TooTea Interesting... I never thought about it or ventured into that area. My company always books me with KLM.
    – je2018
    Oct 17 at 12:49

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