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I will be travelling from London Heathrow to Amsterdam and then to Nairobi using KLM and Kenya Airways in a few weeks. I know that I can fly straight but prefer to connect in Amsterdam as I'm joining up with someone there.

There is a KLM/KQ flight that usually leaves AMS to NBO in the evening between 19:00-20:50PM which I want to take.

What's the risk of me missing my flight? Would I need to run to the gate or just walk normally? I have been to Schiphol a few times in the past and this time, I've downloaded some terminal maps.

  • Did you book it as a single itinerary with a connection, or is it two separate tickets? – phoog Jul 24 '17 at 18:47
  • I haven't booked yet but I will be planning on doing it through KLM's website. – myopicflight Jul 24 '17 at 19:12
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    If it's booked on one reservation then you may get some support from the airline to make your connection if time is short (for example, if your incoming flight is delayed) or they may elect to rebook you on the next available flight. – phoog Jul 24 '17 at 19:15
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    Take a look at the "related" questions - it seems like people have asked about connections of this length at AMS before. But if the tight connection is likely to worry you, why not just take an earlier LHR-AMS flight? – Michael Lugo Jul 24 '17 at 19:54
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    My concern is that KLM only just the one flight a day from Amsterdam to Nairobi (Kenya Airways has one too), and you're getting to AMS reasonably late in the day. If your flight from Heathrow is delayed and you miss your connection, odds are good you're spending the night in Amsterdam. How willing you are to risk that will depend on how important it is for you to get to Nairobi on time, but you can reduce the risk by taking an earlier flight. – Zach Lipton Jul 24 '17 at 20:56
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Schiphol reconfigured their security pcedures a few years ago, such that passengers arriving from "trusted" non-Schengen countries (which includes the UK) don't have to pass through transfer security but deplane directly into the non-Schengen concourse. So you will not need to wait in line for either security or passport checks.

Thus, if KLM is willing to sell you a 55-minute connection, it sounds perfectly doable, assuming your inbound flight is not late. Don't expect to make it to the gate before the "boarding time" indicated on your boarding card, but you'll get there before the doors close. (So don't expect to be able to meet your companion at the gate, and expect that you may have to fit your cabin luggage into the space left in the overhead lockers after everyone else have had their go).

It's possible that you make it but your checked luggage won't. Having a change of underwear for the first night in your hand baggage would be a smart move.

Also, as Michael Lugo mentions, note that KLM has flights from Heathrow to Amsterdam practically every other hour on a typical afternoon (as well as additional departures from London City) -- so if you want to minimize your risk of trouble, just book an earlier flight.

  • 55 minutes is plenty even if one has to pass through the passport control (such as when incoming EU flight and then connecting to outside EU-flight). The luggage will make as long as there are no unexpected delays. I often fly from a EU country, via AMS, to Japan, with sub-hour connections, and in ~20 times the luggage was only delayed once. KLM paid me for new underwear+t-shirt (even shoes actually :) ) due to the two-day delay of the luggage. – bjorn Feb 20 at 4:15
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knowing the security chaos and overload at lines everywhere at AMS during the summer, I'd not risk anything shorter than 2-3 hours just to clear security.

It's not the distance you have to worry about, it's the hundreds of people who are trying to do pretty much the same you are and are all waiting for one or two security lines.

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    Are you sure there will be security to stand in line for? (And if so, what makes you conclude that?) The OP will be arriving from the UK -- whose airport security is trusted -- and continuing on a non-Schengen flight. – Henning Makholm Jul 25 '17 at 16:17
  • @HenningMakholm there will at the very least be the line between the Schengen and non-Schengen areas. No security check per se, but they check your passport and boarding pass to see if you are cleared to transit between the areas. While not as busy and slow as the security lines, at peak times it can take a while to get through as there's only 1 or 2 positions and queues can get long. – jwenting Jul 26 '17 at 5:23
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    x @jwenting: Why would the OP need to care about that line? He's arriving from a non-Schengen country (the UK) and departing for another non-Schengen country (Kenya). No need for him to enter Schengen at all. – Henning Makholm Jul 26 '17 at 15:37
  • @jwenting people with short-connections ALWAYS have priority. There is a special line for them, and the eligible flights are noted on a monitor. One just needs to walk up to the guard standing in front of the line, show the ticket, and then he lets you through to the passport check. I have done sub-hour connections at AMS, from schengen to non-schengen, and the reverse, ~20 times and never had a problem, even during peak travel season. – bjorn Feb 20 at 4:19

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