Old parents who do not speak English are flying from Warsaw to Canada with a connection in Amsterdam.

Will they go out, or will customs and passport control happen inside the airport? I was thinking someone could help them with navigation and translation, but if it is inside the airport, no one could enter it without a flight ticket.

  • 6
    There shouldn't be any customs, only the passport check for leaving the Schengen area.
    – phoog
    Mar 24 at 9:18
  • Are both flights on the same ticket or booked separately?
    – jcaron
    Mar 24 at 12:58
  • Same airline - KLM Mar 24 at 16:22
  • 2
    @Eugen Same airline doesn’t necessarily mean anything. What matters is whether it’s the same booking. If you book the whole flight together, their luggage will generally be taken straight from one plane to the other, even if it’s two different airlines; conversely, if you book two separate, unrelated tickets, they would normally have to pick up their luggage, exit to landside and check in again, even if both tickets are with the same airline. Mar 24 at 18:25
  • It was the same booking Mar 26 at 20:32

3 Answers 3


Flying from Sweden to the UK via Amsterdam on a single ticket (i.e same airline) everything happens inside the airport.

Since your parents are elderly, perhaps they could sign up for 'special assistance' and let the airport staff guide them through. I've used special assistance numerous times at different airports. I don't know if Schiphol has translators available but special assistance staff are usually pretty good with people who have communication difficulties. They usually offer a wheelchair or buggy (or you can walk with them if you prefer) and you just let them take you through.

  • Thank you for sharing your jorney and suggestions! Mar 24 at 16:22

If all is booked on one ticket they will stay in the airside part of the airport.
They should be aware not to follow the most of the fellow passengers but follow the signs to transfers or to the letter of the gate they leave from in Schiphol.
As you have seen there are maps available and gates are assigned pretty early, but that makes the risk on a gate change bigger so looking at the screen with the gate information is essential.

Coming from Warsaw they will exit the Schengen zone and will go through exit passport control in Schiphol. I have never transitted there but I believe that there is a dedicated border control area for transit passengers.

If they accidentally exit the secure area or want to go out of the airport they can join the passengers who will start from the airport and go through passport control and security, staff in Amsterdam is used to many who do not speak the languages they know.

I think the suggested ask for assistance is a good plan but if they do not want that (my parents were very stubborn about that) they should be fine.
If they get stuck, go to any uniformed person, show boarding card and look with a question in the eyes, most will understand and at least point in the right direction.

  • 2
    (+1) The OP can also track the status of the flights and gate numbers and stay in touch with the parents during the transit in case of eg an unexpected gate change.
    – Traveller
    Mar 24 at 9:29
  • Thank you for comment and suggestion! Mar 24 at 16:23

Oke, it looks like it will happen inside the airport: enter image description here

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