After my WOW Air flights, I grabbed my checked bag at Schiphol Amsterdam Airport and I was badly in need of some rest and a hotel room. From baggage claim I believed it would be a quick five minutes or so walk to get to the YOTELAir, the Amsterdam airport hotel where I would spend the night. Was I ever wrong!
I Wandered Aimlessly Through Schiphol
For the next three hours I walked around, asked for assistance, and then walked a little more. Schiphol airport is huge and is the main international airport of both Holland and the entire country of the Netherlands. First, although this particular Amsterdam airport hotel has been inside the airport for several years, very few employees seem to have heard of it.
Secondly, the airport map is sorely in need of a makeover. It’s very general doesn’t include any specific points of interest on it, especially the much needed Amsterdam Airport hotel I was looking for desperately. But the biggest problem was that I had a checked bag. KLM wouldn’t let me check my bag in early, as in the day before, and YOTELAir is past security, which I couldn’t get to with liquids in my bag.
Go to KLM
I was initially told by an information person to go to KLM, which I did. The employee told me told me to check in with a gate agent, who at that time allowed me to check in, but wouldn’t say why I couldn’t check my bag. Every question I asked her was answered with a question and I was feeling so tired I couldn’t think straight.
Go to D22
I was told from there to go to D22 to get to the hotel. D22 is a ticket desk so that wasn’t going to help. I stopped and asked a Tui representative, who said the hotel was past security and showed me how to get there.
If I hadn’t been up for over 24 hours, I probably would’ve realized that I couldn’t go through security with my checked bag. This airport uses machines that scan your boarding pass to allow you to go through security. Neither boarding passes I had, the one I just used to get from KEF to AMS or the one for the next day, AMS to NCL, worked. One of the agents, Oneeka, was nice enough to allow me to go through and I took the escalator up to the security line.
Go to Security
As I walked through the long line, past the signage about liquids and laptops, it dawned on me that there was no way I could get through with all the liquids in my bag. Normally, I only travel with a carry on bag, but as I had requests for Bath & Body Works from UK friends, the bag had to get checked.
When I got to the front of the line, I explained that to an employee, who called for a supervisor, and had me to stand to the side. The end result was that I decided to go back outside and ask KLM why I couldn’t check my bag in right then.
Go to Luggage Lockers
KLM said they couldn’t hold a bag overnight and the only suggestion they had was to go down to the luggage lockers area and leave my bag there. You have to get down to level -1 to locate the locker area, which is busy and has several sections of “out of order” lockers. I was getting desperate as they were all taken. But then I spotted an unnecessarily large locker for €9,50 and if that’s what I had to do, so be it.
Go to My Amsterdam Airport Hotel
Back I went, up to security, and this time I was able to pass through. I even went through the automated passport machine and was then able to exit security. From here I thought the hotel would be easy to find since I saw online several people said it was near McDonald’s.
I exited security and there was a McDonald’s to the left, but nothing.
To the right was a Mercure hotel and lounges, but not YOTELAir.
I walked around in this area looking for signage what seemed like forever. Finally I asked again and found out it was farther down in another area altogether.
I had been in Departures 3 and needed to walk over to Departures 2. So began the long walk finally over to my hotel. In case you didn’t figure this out, I’d have to do the same thing again in reverse. That meant I had to walk back over, collect my bag, and check it in with KLM. Then I had to go through security and passport control again, all before going to my gate.
What I Learned from This Experience1. If you ask 10 people the same question, you'll probably get 10 different answers. 2. Airport maps should definitely be more specific and detailed.Click To Tweet
- If you ask 10 people the same question, you’ll probably get 10 different answers.
- Airport maps should definitely be more specific and detailed.
- I should never carry excess liquids that force me to check a bag.
- If I was going to check a bag, I should’ve chosen an Amsterdam Airport hotel off airport to avoid the entire process.
- Get in the long line at Starbucks in Departures 2 because there aren’t any decent coffee options at the gates but for the little Douwe Egberts kiosks.
I left for my trip feeling completely prepared and thinking I knew exactly what to do once at Schiphol Airport. However, this chaos this proved to me that I wasn’t. Lack of sleep only exacerbated the problem.
Things I’d Like to See Change:
- I wish the airport signage was different from one Departures area to the next. While I realize they have to comply with universal signage, too much and they all blend together.
- I’d love to see signage and maps that are more detailed. It’s easy to feel you have sufficient signage if you work there, but they’re not. From the perspective of a passenger, the signage didn’t help.
While I may not have specific tips to prevent you from losing it while trying to get to your Amsterdam airport hotel, I hope you’ll learn from my mistakes. I’ll definitely download an airport map prior to arriving if I ever stay inside an airport again.
Up next I’ll share my experience of arriving and staying at the super cool YOTELAir inside Schiphol airport. Sneak peak: I completely pass out on arrival. Can’t wait? Read my other Amsterdam posts that include details about Amsterdam as well as Schiphol Airport.