Amsterdam Schiphol has been in a meltdown mode for the past two months with hours-long lines, and, at times, passengers were told not to even arrive at the airport because they wouldn’t be let in.
Now, the Airport Coordination Netherlands (ACNL) has come up with a plan to better manage capacity in July & August, which means roughly 14,000 passengers are being rejected daily.
The slot coordinator informs airlines on Monday about schedule reductions they must make. The airlines are then free to devise plans for their flight schedules and inform affected passengers about alternate options.
The airport can only handle 67,500 departing passengers daily in July and 72,500 in August. As a result, hundreds of flights will be canceled on the busiest days. If you look at the estimated numbers and how many passengers can depart, there will be a million or so denied in both July and August. These are staggering numbers.
Remember that EC 261/2004 compensation for flight delays or cancellations doesn’t apply in this instance.
Airlines (as long as the airline is a community carrier OR the flight is from the EU/EEA) must, however, rebook affected passengers to their final destination, even if this means moving them to other airlines, without additional charges and provide duty to care such as hotel accommodation and meals in case of long delays.
Schiphol Estimated Passenger Numbers
There are continuous meltdowns by airports and airlines both in the United States and Europe, and these challenges appear to continue throughout the busy summer travel season (I genuinely hope not beyond).
Airlines and airports downsized and let too many employees go during the pandemic and now find themselves in a difficult place. There are not enough employees to operate the current schedule, and the entire system is falling apart.
Airlines should take a realistic view of their schedules and not try to operate more flights than they can reasonably fly. Airports should also do what ACNL and Schiphol have done here and limit the number of passengers if there simply aren’t enough employees at various checkpoints to process them.
I would advise readers NOT to book complicated itineraries with multiple transits in Europe and North America this summer. Instead, you should book direct flights even when this means not choosing your preferred airline to minimize possible disruptions to your travels, like what I have done (Vueling & Volotea, here I come).
Hope for the best but understand that there are likely disruptions along the way.
Thanks to our reader Robbert in the Netherlands for alerting us about this issue!