Amsterdam Schiphol lets passengers book security time slots

Attempt to cut wait times or yet another charge on the way?

Amsterdam Schiphol is trialing a system where passengers can book a specific time to go though security.

The Personal Security Pass trial means that for two weeks Schiphol is allowing passengers to book their security check slot online.

It applies only to a few Schengen-destinations and is for passengers traveling between 10:00 and 13:30. Passengers get a 15 minute slot to go through the security check.

The trial is free of charge, and can include up to five people.

Applicable flights can be checked and time slots can be reserved from four days and up to one hour and 15 minutes before departure at and through the Schiphol App.

At the airport, passengers have to go to a special gate in Departure Hall 1, at check-in desk 1A.  It is a 5 minute walk from Departure Hall 1 and about 10 minutes walk from Departure Hall 3.

Schiphol says it is testing to see whether passengers value the certainty of a fixed time to go through security and how such a programme would impact the influx of passengers at security control. If the pilot project proves successful, the Pass will be rolled out for general use.

No mention of charges but that whether passengers value phrase is the one to watch.

How it works

At security control, a Schiphol employee will first scan the QR code in the email confirming the reservation.

The passenger will then scan his or her own boarding pass at the self-service security gate, then they pass through security using the dedicated gate.

During the pilot project, 30 passengers will be able to move through the Personal Security Pass entry gate every 15 minutes. So that means 30 seconds per passenger.

But as always with these statements, it doesn’t explain exactly what that 30 seconds means.

Problems at Schiphol security

Until mid-2015, passengers at Schiphol only had their security checked at the boarding gate. That meant that millions of passengers every year were allowed airside into one of the world’s busiest airports without any checks. They even had lockers airside where passengers could store anything at all completely unchecked.

Finally the airport opened a central security screening for non-Schengen passengers. And what a mess that has been.

Schiphol security lines
Central security screening at Schiphol has led to very long lines

Horrible, cramped areas and long, long, long lines. It looks like they just stuck the things in the cheapest, most unpleasant area rather than use a little of the vast amount of retail space available.

Passengers are now warned to get to the airport as much as four hours before their flights. That’s longer than the flying time from Amsterdam to anywhere in mainland E.U. and just a few minutes less than flights to the Canary Islands.

Fixes to the problems at Schiphol security

Schiphol is introducing others ideas like ‘small bags only’ security check lines. Passengers can only use the small bags only line if they have no more than one piece of hand baggage that is smaller than 40 x 30 x 20 centimeters. IATA’s optimum size guideline for carry-on bags is 55 x 35 x 20 cm.

Perhaps the best idea is to go back to the drawing board. Or just visit some other airports who have successfully fixed the problem.

N.B. Image credit:

Internet links

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS)