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How I avoided 6-hour lines at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport – and you can too

June 08, 2022
4 min read
airport lines
How I avoided 6-hour lines at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport – and you can too
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Last week, I traveled out of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport (AMS) — one of the major hotspots of aviation chaos. I arrived at the airport by taxi and witnessed giant lines of passengers snaking around the terminal. The overcrowding issues mainly stem from staffing shortages at security, and they have become so severe that last week, KLM halted bookings for flights over the weekend.

Some passengers were reporting waits as long as six hours to clear security.

Social media shows just how long the lines are with images of wall-to-wall crowds inside the airport and snaking lines outdoors.

I did see the lines, but my experience was a little different. I hope by sharing it, I can save some of you some precious time and give you a better chance of actually catching your flights.

How to skip the wait

I utilized two methods to skip the wait. Either method in isolation would have worked. First, I have Gold status with Virgin Atlantic. I was flying with KLM from Amsterdam to London's Heathrow Airport (LHR), and due to the partnership between Virgin and KLM/Air France, I received “Sky Priority.” This allowed me to use the Sky Priority check-in area as well as priority security lanes in the airport. There was no line whatsoever for check-in, and the security was almost as clear — there were only about 10 people ahead of me.

Before flying, I also checked on the KLM app for upgrade offers. I was offered the option to upgrade to business class for just $62.97. I wouldn’t normally consider this for such a short flight, but I was in desperate need of additional Virgin tier points to re-achieve Gold status. Plus, I hoped my cabin status would aid my airport experience. So, I took the plunge.

Overall, there are three ways tot give you a smoother journey in these chaotic times.

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Status

If you already have status, now, more than ever is the time to use it. Even if the cost is a little higher, you might find your airport experience revolutionized. For example, flying out of Heathrow with British Airways silver status (or above) would give you dedicated check-in desks and priority security lines. On the other hand, flying the same route on Ryanair with a regular ticket would be a much less enjoyable experience. Access to the lounges will also be helpful when it comes to waiting out the inevitable delays.

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Upgrade

If you're on a flight with premium cabins, check how much it costs to upgrade. British Airways and other short-haul legacy carriers sometimes offer very cheap upgrades in the days before flying. My $63 upgrade to business class with KLM was a great example of this.

(Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)

Pay your way

Many airports offer priority security lane usage in return for a small fee. Some airports charge as little as $6.30 for this privilege. This is a handy method if you're flying on a low-cost carrier that doesn’t offer a premium cabin. I recently paid a small fee to use this lane at Naples airport thus avoiding what looked like an hour-long wait. Instead, I cleared security in a couple of minutes.

Related: Why you should get TSA PreCheck and Clear—and how you can save on both

(Photo by olaser/Getty Images)

Bottom line

Travel will continue to be tough for many thanks to long lines, and numerous delays and cancellations. You would be wise to employ some of the tactics outlined above to try and make your trip a little less stressful.

Featured image by Passengers wait in line at the Schiphol Airport, on April 30, 2022. - The airport is facing serious staff shortages due to hundreds of vacancies at the check-in desks, security and in the baggage handling area that cannot be filled. - Netherlands OUT (Photo by Evert Elzinga / ANP / AFP) / Netherlands OUT (Photo by EVERT ELZINGA/ANP/AFP via Getty Images)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023