“We are already expecting a peak crowd this weekend. Similar to the period before Corona,” Schiphol spokesman Dennis Muller said.
The country’s largest airport is understaffed. “Due to the Corona pandemic, many employees have stopped and started doing other work,” the spokesperson explains. “We encounter very few people at the check-in and security desks.”
This has consequences. “Travelers will notice this especially during peak times, in the morning until 11 am and in the afternoon between 1 and 2 pm.” The entire May holiday is expected to be very crowded. “On really busy days, like weekends, we might go around 200,000 passengers.”
Transavia, the biggest holiday flyer, is expecting peak crowds from this weekend. “We’ve scaled everything up as much as possible. We’re all set, our planes are just full,” says Transavia spokeswoman Claudia Metz.
Transavia is also suffering from corona effects and has suffered significant staff losses. “We recently hired five hundred new employees. Not everyone has been trained yet, but we’re on the right track.”
Transavia has been preparing for the May holidays for weeks. “In recent weeks, we have had to cancel some flights,” the airline spokesperson acknowledges. “We can never completely rule out cancellations, but we don’t expect a major outage at all. When it comes, travelers will be notified in advance and we will arrange a solution.”
The Royal Netherlands Marechaussee, which is responsible for passport control, is doing its best to deal with the expected peak crowds. A spokesperson for the company said in response to a question: “We are deploying additional Marechaussees during the May holiday. This is how we hope to avoid long queues at passport control.”
But there are no strong guarantees. “Our work has to be done meticulously. We don’t make any compromises in terms of safety. So waiting time can definitely increase at busy times.”
The warning also sounds from Eindhoven Airport: Peak congestion is expected, and queues can increase. “We’re also short on hands everywhere, so consider waiting times more at security screening or the catering industry.”
Arriving in time is the motto. “Preferably at least two and a half hours before departure,” the spokesperson says. Even Eindhoven Airport has started a special campaign to warn travelers about the crowds.
Some tips: reserve a parking space in advance, check in online, wear comfortable clothing (such as sneakers, without heels), do not take things in your luggage that are not allowed, and have your passport ready at customs. “We are doing everything we can, but we are also counting on the cooperation of the passengers,” the spokesperson said.
The May holiday is traditionally seen as the beginning of the summer season. In the travel organization TUI, which offers full holiday trips, they are seeing the crowds again as they were before Corona’s time. “Destinations around the Mediterranean are the most popular. Turkey is very popular this year,” says Petra Cook on behalf of TUI.
Come three hours ago
Transavia recommends 3 hours early arrival for all flights. “Don’t come too early either, because that only creates extra crowds.”
A Schiphol spokesperson agrees: “If you arrive hours earlier, it will only lead to unnecessary crowds. Check-in counters are often not open yet. Keep an eye on our app and your travel information.”
TUI has set up an additional check-in option in cooperation with several airlines. “Due to the expected crowds, we’ve organized it from April 22 to May 3 at P3. You can also check in your bags there.”
One last tip for vacationers who fly by: Don’t forget your mouth coverings. These are still mandatory after the security check and on the plane.
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