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After a long trip for studies I'll finally be going home next Friday. My partner went on a trip of his own while I was away. Our flights will be arriving about 15 minutes from each other (well, that's the plan), and we're very exited about seeing each other again. He'll be arriving at gate H from the UK. I don't know what gate I will be arriving yet. It is Friday 29th of April's KL896 from Pudong, China.

What is the earliest point we can meet up? Do we arrive in areas separated by checks or can we just hop off the plane and walk to each other?

  • Do you mean the location in the airport to meet up between gate H and an indeterminate point? Or do you mean the time interval between landing and finally reaching the public gallery? – Gayot Fow Apr 27 '16 at 7:34
  • @GayotFow More like, what checks do we need to pass at least before we can meet up. Or can we just hop off the plane and walk to the other's gate? – Belle-Sophie Apr 27 '16 at 7:37
  • That totally clarifies it. Please consider adding your comment into the body of the question. There are a lot of experts on Schiphol here who can help. Edit => add the time of day and the weekday name also. – Gayot Fow Apr 27 '16 at 7:47
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Coming off the planes you come in the same halls as those going to the planes use. All of the airside that is 'non Schengen' is connected, if by a long(ish) walkway. That means that the first to arrive can go to the gate used by the second to arrive and meet there. Although at most of the airside space is open, there might be some parts of the airport still locked off by security for the whole of the area. In that case you will be able to meet just outside of the security check for the area of the airport.

Arriving plane gates are not announced so you will have to have your phones at the ready, call as soon as the gate is known. And sometimes passengers are bussed into the airport and might arrive at a door very close to passport control.

If you ask your flight attendants, it is likely that they can include the information in the 'welcome to Amsterdam' message, but otherwise you can see it on the outside of the airport buildings as well as on the signs within the halls as soon as you come into the buildings.

Remember that you might have to go to different locations of the airport to collect your luggage. You do not need to use a particular part of passport control, and you are free to walk from one set of luggage carousels to the other set, and you are allowed to pass out of the secure zone at any of the exits.

Both of your flights are from outside the Schengen area. If either of you had come from within the Schengen area, you would earliest be able to meet at the luggage carousels.

This answer is from personal experience, having used Schiphol many times, but for within Schengen as out of Schengen flights.
And I have met my friend in luggage reclaim on some airports myself.

If you have people meeting you outside the secure zone, you might need to call them which exit you use (based on which luggage you collect last) or arrange to meet them at a set point in the airport.

Edit: Based on the answer by @EcD, the area at the top of the stairs/lifts to passport control, on the side of the airport where the flight from China is using the gate, is the most likely point.
But I am not sure as I never arrived from a 'non clean' area. Luggage reclaim will certainly be possible, as those are for all flights in two huge halls.

  • Are non-Schengen departures and arrivals not segregated in Schipol (like in the US, but contrary to most other international airports I'm aware of)? That means you can transfer from one non-Schengen flight to another without going through security? – jcaron Apr 27 '16 at 8:11
  • Such a detailed answer, thank you! I especially like the comment about asking the flight attendants, will certainly do that. – Belle-Sophie Apr 27 '16 at 8:17
  • That reminded me, some parts of the airport still have security points for a bigger area. Some flights have extra security near the gate. I do not like the 'security at the start of the secure area' myself. I feel much better when security is done for much smaller numbers of flights, best per flight. – Willeke Apr 27 '16 at 8:17
  • Certain American airports would drive you nuts, then, where you can go to any terminal and any gate after clearing security. – Michael Hampton Apr 27 '16 at 9:47
  • Not drive me nuts, it is just now what I prefer. – Willeke Apr 27 '16 at 9:48
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I believe that since the central security changes last year, Willeke's answer is most likely incorrect for you (although as I've not been on an inbound flight from an "insecure" country since June 2015, when this all changed, I am happy to be corrected by someone with first-hand experience).

Schiphol airport describes the changes in detail, but in summary:

  • Departing passengers are now screened before entering the departure lounges at all, immediately after checkin. Similar to most airports.
  • Arriving passengers from "clean" non-Schengen countries (such as the UK and US), that meet EU security standards, are deposited directly into this shared departure area. This hasn't changed, but it does now make transfers easier for them, no need to re-clear security at the gate. They leave by heading towards passport control.
  • Arriving passengers from countries that don't meet EU security standards, and I strongly suspect this includes China, are shepherded along separate corridors on a separate level directly to passport control, and avoiding the clean passengers.

So - your partner should arrive into the main departure area. You should be herded directly to passport control. You could meet up before passport control therefore, or at the baggage claim. It's unlikely that you'll be able to get into the clean departure area without a boarding pass - although you could try, perhaps they won't check. It's unlikely your partner will be easily able to make it backwards along the unclean arriving passenger route - although again, that may be possible.

  • I did include that some areas are still not in the general part of the 'all security at the main entrance to the secure area' but I have noticed that a lot of flights do not leave from the areas you would expect them to, arriving flights is even more of a guess. – Willeke Apr 27 '16 at 13:56
  • I think if they were both coming from clean countries, or both from unclean countries, it would be easier. I think it's just an unfortunate pair of countries (I was going to add it as a comment, but it got a bit long :) ) – EdC Apr 27 '16 at 13:58
  • I think I would wait at the point where the people from the one section will meet those from the other section, if you can not go on for all the way. I assumed planes from China would arrive in the main area, but you might be right that they are in the smaller area with separate security. – Willeke Apr 27 '16 at 14:00
  • Wow that's confusing. I think we'll aim for the plaza unless I catch wifi first as I lost my Dutch sim. Hurray for small technology. – Belle-Sophie Apr 27 '16 at 14:40
  • Let us know how you get on! – EdC Apr 27 '16 at 15:00

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