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I am planning a trip from Boryspil, Ukraine (KBP) to Northwest Arkansas (XNA) via Schiphol Amsterdam (AMS) and Minneapolis St Paul (MSP). I am worried about connection times at AMS and MSP. The connection times on the itinerary are 1h30m. I am a US citizen. Given the new changes at AMS airport and the fact that i'm coming for Kiev a non EU country.

What are the chances of making the flight at AMS and MSP?

Any advice on how to navigate these airports.

  • Related: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/22092/… – JoErNanO Dec 13 '15 at 16:03
  • I think that's plenty of time for both airports. – Michael Hampton Dec 13 '15 at 17:13
  • Will it all be on one ticket? – Gagravarr Dec 13 '15 at 21:16
  • What new changes at AMS airport? – phoog Dec 14 '15 at 3:25
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    @phoog AMS now has centralised security instead of at-gate security. This also means that arrivals from "safe" countries are not re-screened when transiting AMS. However there is no priority channel in the new transit security, so if you prefer to avoid queues it may be worth avoiding the airport until they realise this is important. – Calchas Dec 14 '15 at 9:21
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I'm assuming these are booked on one ticket so you'll not have to worry about collecting and rechecking baggage or anything like that.

Ninety minutes is plenty to change in Amsterdam. Even with the current renovation it's still pretty easy to get from one gate to another. Since you're going non-EU to non-EU you'll not need to go through passport control but will probably go through a security screening. There's a question here about transiting in 50 minutes which you'll see isn't a problem. If your incoming flight arrives late and you have less time then you'll be allowed to use the 'fast lane' at security (but I think security might be at the gate for that flight -- although this may not be true anymore). I've done hour changes in Amsterdam several times and normally have enough time to stop for a (quick) drink and a snack and still get to the gate in plenty of time. If you don't have an on-going boarding pass you'll need to stop at a transfer desk but these have automated kiosks and are pretty easy to use.

I can't find official minimum connection times for MSP, this FlyerTalk thread says 1 hour for International to Domestic. Since it's your first point of entry to the US you will need to clear immigration and customs at MSP. In general this is just a matter of following the signs picking up your bags if you have checked bags and rechecking them after customs. Since you're a US citizen, you should have no issue with it and the system is pretty well streamlined now.

I'm guessing you're flying Delta or KLM, the in-flight entertainment system has airport guides and transfer tips -- as does their official magazine. They should also tell you the departure gate of the next flight, if they know it, just before landing. If your flights are late you can talk to the cabin crew who should be able to assist you, if you miss a connection your airline should rebook you on a later flight and pay for food / accommodation as required.

If you have high enough frequent flyer status then look out for the signposted lanes that you can use to use which will have shorter queues. If you want to buy more time consider sitting near the front of the plane so your more likely to get off before the bulk of the passengers and then they'll not be ahead of you in the various queues.

That's all assuming it's booked on a single ticket and your bags are checked all the way through. If that's not the case you'll need to collect and recheck your bags at each stop (also going through customs and immigration). If everything went smoothly ninety minutes is maybe enough time to do that but I'd strongly advise you to change the flights to give yourself more time.

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    You have the usual claim bag, pass customs and re-drop bag that you do arriving at any other US airport from abroad. And US citizens can use the automated passport control kiosks which may speed things up. What concerns me about DAL161 is that it very often is late into MSP. He may well miss the 2:15pm connecting flight, and that's the last nonstop to XNA of the day. They'll get him there if he misses it, but it'll be on yet another connection through ORD. – Michael Hampton Dec 14 '15 at 5:36
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    That said, MSP is very easy to navigate as an international arrival. There is one path through immigration, baggage claim, customs, re-drop, and TSA security all take place one right after the other in practically a straight line, and you get dumped out on concourse G close to where you deplaned. So it can be a very short process. – Michael Hampton Dec 14 '15 at 5:39

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