The Amsterdam Airport Schiphol ranks as the fourth most popular airport in all of Europe, according to 2011 statistics, and it has six runways for the flights of more than 90 different airlines. Due to the increasing number of passengers traveling through this Amsterdam airport, there are plans for adding a seventh runway in the future.
The Dutch name “Schiphol” literally means a ship graveyard. In the late 1800’s before the airfield’s construction, the area was a shallow lake that was treacherous for incoming ships to navigate through in rough weather. Due to the many ships that sank in the area, the Dutch decided to drain it in order to make better use of the area and prevent further shipwrecks. This thriving airport now lies entirely below sea level; the lowest point lies 11 feet under sea level.
The design of the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is simply one long terminal divided into three segments of departure halls. The advantage of this layout is that passengers can walk directly to almost any gate without needing to take a bus or connecting train as in other international airports. The airport was also designed for traveler convenience as both the Sheraton Hotel and CitizenM hotels are a short walk from the main terminal, and a major train station is directly below the main airport exit. After your arrival, you can board a train within minutes to any part of the Netherlands, Paris, Antwerp, and many other popular destinations. Train tickets are available in person at several ticket counters, or from automatic self-service machines near the exits. If you prefer to take a bus or taxi, both means of transportation can easily be found outside in front of the main exit doors.
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Amenities
A special feature of this airport is the access to a lovely rooftop terrace that is very expansive; it offers unobstructed, 360-degree views of the entire airport. Known as the “Panoramaterras,” it’s inaccessible to connecting passengers; only the general public and those who have exited the airport can enter the terrace.
Schiphol airport has some hidden surprises as well. A dedicated wedding planner organizes a variety of marriage ceremonies at the airport, including an express package deal that lets newlyweds take off for their honeymoon immediately after they tie the knot. Believe it or not, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is the site of more than 50 weddings each year. Another interesting attraction for children and adults alike is the exhibit of the cockpit of a KLM aircraft. This authentic replica of the front part of the plane is on display inside the main terminal area so you can get a rare, close-up look of the aircraft’s interior.
Art lovers can stop at the special annex of the Rijksmuseum for one last, special souvenir; it’s located between the E and F concourses. Admission is free and some of the same great gifts are available here as in the original Rijksmuseum of Art in the city of Amsterdam. Avid readers will also appreciate that a permanent airport library is also near this miniature museum, and with books in at least 29 languages, this eclectic reading collection provides an enjoyable way to pass the time on a lengthy layover.
Airlines Serving Schiphol
Passengers can rest assure that they are served by the best Dutch airline companies at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. The busiest airport in the Netherlands is a major hub for KLM, the official flag carrier for the Netherlands. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines offers flights to more than 100 locations throughout the world. Such staggering statistics make KLM the busiest carrier at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. The Dutch flag carrier links Amsterdam to European capital cities such as Athens, Berlin, Budapest, Edinburgh, London, Madrid, Paris, and Rome.
KLM is also a major gateway into Asia and the Middle East. China, Kuwait, India, Israel, Japan, Egypt, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar are on the list of KLM’s schedule. The largest airline in the Netherlands provides non-stop service to important destinations in America. Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Panama, and Peru are some of the South American destinations accessible via KLM. Important North American destinations offered by KLM include Houston, New York, Los Angeles, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. There is also direct KLM service to Africa. Passengers can find the KLM fleet in the B, C, D, E, and F Piers of the terminal complex at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.
The second busiest airline at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is Transavia. This low cost Dutch airline has a lineup of more than 40 destinations, mostly within the Mediterranean region, southern Europe, and the Middle East. In fact, nearly one third of Transavia flights operate on a seasonal schedule. Popular resort destinations available through this low cost Dutch carrier include Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Malta, Sharm el Sheikh, and several Greek islands such as Rhodes, Corfu, and Lesbos. You can board Transavia jets from Pier B, C, D, E, and G at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.
Another busy Dutch airline based in Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is Arkefly. This charter airline connects Amsterdam with some of the world’s most popular tourist destinations on multiple continents. Arkefly takes tourists to exotic places such as Eilat (Israel), Aqaba (Jordan), and Sharm el Sheikh (Egypt), which are popular resort towns located on the Red Sea. The Mediterranean islands, the United States, and Central America are also accessible via this Dutch charter airline. Piers C, D, and G is where Arkefly jets operate.
American tourists will be thrilled to hear that Delta Air Lines uses Amsterdam Airport Schiphol as a major European hub. Operating in section E of the terminal, the busy U.S. carrier offers non-stop flights to large cities such as Atlanta, Boston, New York City, and Seattle.