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Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

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Another delay at Amsterdam Airport?

Thunderstorms cause delay havoc at Amsterdam Airport

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) is the fourth largest in Europe according to the numbers of passengers that pass through its gates each year, over fifty two million. It is the main hub for Dutch Airline KLM and is a European hub for Delta Air Lines. It is situated 5.6 miles southwest of Amsterdam, about a twenty minute journey by train. 91 airlines use the airport, travelling to over 300 destinations. There are approximately 500 companies based on the site, employing 65,000 employees. The airport started life in 1916 as a military airport, with the first KLM passenger flight taking off in 1920. The 1928 Olympics in Holland were instrumental in the development of Schiphol as a major international hub, although it did not have a tarmac runway until 1938, which was the second in Europe. The original airport was destroyed during the Second World War, suffering damage from both sides, the allies bombed the runways and German forces dynamited the buildings. This meant that an entirely new airport had to be built after the war was over. In 2011 the airport reached a milestone when it welcomed its billionth passenger.

Increasingly turbulent weather leads to flight delays at Amsterdam Airport

The rising frequency of electrical storms through the summer months is causing serious problems at Amsterdam Airport, leading to more regular flight delays and cancellations. When excessively bad weather hits the area, the airport has to shut down as the risk to ground crew from lightning strikes makes working outside too dangerous. Weather systems throughout Europe have been seeing a steady rise in energetic storm activity, which can only lead to more delays in the future.

The lowest of the low

The name Schiphol translates as ‘Ship Grave,’ a reference to the history of the land where the airport now stands which, like a considerable amount of the country, was reclaimed from the sea. The shallow waters that have been replaced were renowned for grounding ships during stormy weather. The airport is actually eleven feet below sea level at its lowest point, making it one of the lowest commercial airports in the world. As a result, the airport’s control tower is the tallest in the world at 331 feet.

Delay statistics and popular routes

An 80% or less, figure for on-time arrivals, means that at least a fifth of passengers are suffering some level of delay to their flight, leaving most of the top five airlines using Amsterdam Schiphol Airport with serious issues to contend with in this respect. Significant delays lead to passengers exercising their legal rights to compensation. The busiest carrier is KLM, with 79% of flights departing on-time, and its sister airline, KLM Cityhopper, easily comes top with 96%. Next is Transavia, with a worrying 69%, followed by easyJet at 77%. The fifth busiest airline out of the airport, Delta Air Lines, scores 82%. The five most popular European routes that are flown out of Schipol are to London Heathrow (LHR), Barcelona (BCN) in Spain, “>Paris-Charles de Galle (CDG), France, Rome-Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci (FCO), Italy and Copenhagen (CPH), Denmark. Internationally the most popular routes are Detroit, New York, Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Minneapolis-Saint Paul.

Delay, cancellation, overbooking or missed connection flight? You are entitled to:

Short distance up to 1500 kmMedium distance up to 3500 kmLong distance from 3500 km
e.g. London – Edinburghe.g. London – Athense.g. London – Tokyo

What rights do I have?

Under EU law, you can get up to 480£ compensation in the event of a delay, cancellation or overbooking of your flight.
This is true regardless of the ticket price and up to 6 years retrospectively.


What to do when delayed?

  • gather information
  • Take photos
  • You are entitled to vouchers
  • Keep documents from the airline, such as letters, tickets, vouchers
250 €
3H Delay
400 €
1,500km – 3,500km
3H Delay
600 €
> 3,500km
3H Delay


  • Useful tips if your flight is delayed
  • Checklist for printing
  • Read Reviews
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Doing it yourself

annoying and unpromising
  • cost risk: €0
  • very time-consuming (paper-warfare with the airline)
  • small chances of success
  • often no experience (complex field of law)
  • high stress factor (paperwork, phone calls)


simple and straightfoward
  • cost risk: €0
  • takes little time (2 minutes)
  • high chances of success
  • experienced travel legal experts (enforced more than 100.000.000 €)
  • absolutely stress-free (We enforce the compensation for you.)


expensive and complex/effortful
  • cost risk: several hundred euros
  • very time-consuming (several hours)
  • chances of success unclear
  • experience unknown (depends on specialty)
  • high stress factor (meetings, paperwork, phone calls)

Your flight from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport did not go as planned?

Passengers may be entitled to compensation for flight delays, cancellations and overbooking under EU law. Flightright enforces your rights.

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