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4.67 

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Great European Gateway
Apr 23, 2002 02:44 AM 6431 Views
(Updated Apr 29, 2002 06:55 PM)

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Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is about 15 km from the Amsterdam city. My last visit to this airport was in 1998 while going to Düsseldorf in Germany. This is one of the busiest airports in Europe and the fourth busiest European Gateway.


Local Time – GMT + 1


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This Airport is managed by a business group ‘Schiphol’. Major share holders of Schiphol are Dutch Government, Amsterdam and Rotterdam City Corporations. Its plan is to establish a network of airports by entering into coalitions with other airports, local authorities, and commercial partners both in and outside the Netherlands. They have signed a MOU to acquire some share of Malaysian Airport Holding.


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What makes this Airport little different from other major hubs in Europe?


There are four runways. It has a single huge terminal with A - G gates provide service to several aircrafts at a time with Jetways connections.


Atmosphere is very different due to very friendly behavior of local people. Every year about 40 million passengers pass through this airport. Still life is very comfortable due to high degree of discipline. Many of us have good experience of Sahar. My experience of airports even at Frankfurt, Heathrow is not that good. Shifting from one terminal to other is not that easy and at Heathrow, one has to really struggle at the immigration counter. This airport provides all possible facilities required for a long distance traveler.


Facilities


Refreshment


Before passport control you can find a wide choice of bars and cafes to relax and catch up. There are McDonald, Pizza Hut, Burger King and some self service counters. There is wide choice of course for Samosa you have to go to Amsterdam City.


Duty-Free Shopping


For me, See, Buy and Fly is one of the major attracts.


One of my favorite places at Schiphol Airport is the Food Village 24-hour grocery store. Of course, things are little expensive here. If you are visiting the city then it is better to buy from Amsterdam City.


I used to carry Chocolates, Wine and of course Cigar from Schiphol. Almost all famous brands are available.


There is very wide collection of videos. You get original one unlike China or Far East.


Textile – Very expensive, so never tried to buy anything.


Perfumes – Fabulous collection. You get all famous brands and these are genuine. A nasty place, money flows out before you count.


Books and Games – Available in plenty to satisfy almost all. High quality art-materials for the kids are also available.


Want to buy Diamond for someone special? Go to Amsterdam city. Amazing collection and cheapest in Europe. I could never afford to buy one of those glittering stones.


According to me shopping at Dubai is less costly. This piece of information is for ‘just-did-it’.


Banks


There are banks and ATMs at various places inside the airport. Some machines took VISA while others took MasterCard. Many other debit and credit cards are also accepted. Now situation must be better because of EURO.


Transport


In front of the airport there are many connections for buses and taxis are easily available. Taxi drivers expect tip which is not common in my country.


This airport is very well connected by rail. Beneath the airport is a train station. This is common in most of the airports in Europe. Any part of Holland can be accessed by this train service. Use train facility if you are traveling light.


In the main hall one can buy Phone Card or Strips for Tram Service. Tram Service in Amsterdam is pretty good and fast not like that of Calcutta.


Baggage transfer


Never faced any problem due to highly efficient staff at this airport. These guys are very helpful. English is spoken by all workers at Schiphol. In some airports language is a big problem.


There are facilities like Child Care Centre, Medical Service, SMS facility for fight time, Chemist Shop, Hotel Booking etc.


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I always prefer this airport as a transit point due to less hassle at the immigration counter, its unique single terminal concept, last minute shopping facility. According to me as a transit point Schiphol has the advantage of cost due to low cost of living in Amsterdam then London, Paris or even Frankfurt. This airport is connected to almost all major airports in the world by most of the Airlines.


For me spending even six hour in this hub for connecting fight was never a problem because of very friendly atmosphere in this airport. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Hope to visit Amsterdam & Schiphol once again in future if I get a chance to travel by KLM.


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