Schiphol Airport

2012 September 10
by Ryan

It was my first flight into Schiphol. It was only a transfer, but it doesn’t take long to get a feel for an airport. We flew in on a KLM 747 from Dulles. Our landing pattern took us north along the Dutch coast before turning around and flying south for our final approach. The view was fantastic. We saw wind generator farms out in the sea, canals and the city of Amsterdam off in the distance. After the plane landed one thing I didn’t see was the airport. If you love sitting on a taxiing plane, then this is the airport for you. I’m not sure where exactly the runway was, but I’d estimate we landed somewhere in Northern France. It took us – no joke – 30 minutes to taxi to the gate. The first 10 minutes was exciting. We watched a continuous stream of fields, houses and canals go by our tiny airplane window. The next 10 minutes was the same scenery, but I began to wonder where we actually were. The final 10 minutes was spent wondering how many illicit drugs were consumed during the runway construction planning meetings.

After our tour across Europe we finally arrived at the gate. We had a couple hours to kill in Schiphol so we looked for the business class lounge (for which I had a pass). The business class lounge was almost, but not quite, on the opposite end of the airport from our flight to Dar es Salaam. Also it was extraordinarily crowded. We finally managed to find a seat to plug in and check email. Katie went to gain access to the business class lounge showers only to find out there was more than an hour wait – not enough time to shower and make our connection. So, she paid 15 euro and took a shower at the airport hotel.

One thing that annoys me about European airports is their insistence of putting security screening at the gate. In America we go through screening then can load up on a variety of tasty liquid refreshments to take with us on the plane. With the screening at the gate you can’t take your beverages with you. Schiphol has embraced this model and consequently there was a large pile of half empty beverages piled on the X-Ray machine at the gate.

Although I didn’t partake, Schiphol does have a McDonalds. This puts it well ahead of Russian airports, which may or may not have a kiosk that sells crab flavored potato chips.

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