Amsterdam Meltdown: They’re Not Even Accepting Checked Bags From Connecting Flights Tomorrow

European airports have been melting down this month – London Luton literally with a runway melting, but other airports like Amsterdam and London Heathrow becoming impossible to navigate due to lack of staff. London Heathrow has asked airlines to stop selling tickets. So much baggage piled up that Delta ran a flight with just bags to begin sorting the mess out in Detroit.

Amsterdam Schipol sought to impose a passenger cap, but that hasn’t solved its issues. At Amsterdam the checked baggage mess has been so bad that Icelandair has been sending baggage workers on its Amsterdam flights, since Schipol airport lacks the staff in place there to handle the bags.

The problem, though, is that bags get caught up in the airport’s baggage system and there aren’t enough people to keep it running properly.

As if this all wasn’t bad enough, the airport’s baggage system has broken down – and KLM is telling passengers connecting through its hub that the airport will not accept bags from connecting flights on July 21. That seems to suggest a passenger’s only alternatives are to travel carry on only, or to change their itineraries.

This was sent to me by a reader who received this from KLM in advance of a flight connecting through Amsterdam back to the U.S. on Thursday. From the wording of the message it appears to only apply to customers connecting from one European flight to another, even though it’s being displayed to passengers flying transoceanic. I have contacted KLM for clarification.

This is going to be messy. Many people will not have seen the notice until they arrive at the airport on Thursday. Many more won’t be able to delay, or will have difficulty re-routing. Imagine, for instance, traveling on a Virgin Atlantic-issued award ticket for travel on KLM that needs to be changed by Virgin.

(HT: Jim R)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. This is bad. My experience at Schipol last week wasn’t bad. Heathrow was a complete clusterfuck on the otherhand.

  2. Glad I’m not traveling in Europe again until late August, transiting LHR in one direction, LGW in the other. Maybe they’ll have it solved by then. SO has sworn to do carry-on only, though I have my doubts it can be pulled off completely. Still, we’re going to limit our exposure to lost luggage by only checking what has to be checked. The only trick will be Ryanair – the carry-ons they allow are simply too small to meet their requirements, so we have to check. But there are no connections, so there’s hope.

  3. So much for that Dutch efficiency.

    What’s Oslo and Stockholm going to do when the computers go down and the automated bag-check, automated security checkpoints, and automated boarding gates don’t work?

  4. If you go to KLM’s website, you’ll see a banner with the same message displayed prominently at the top of the page.

    It’s not clear how they will define “customers with a transfer connection in Europe.” As I read it, that’s any flight that connects in Schiphol. After all, Schiphol is in Europe, if you have a flight that connects there, you have a transfer connection within Europe, no?

  5. We will be paying the price for our covid hysteria measures for decades I fear 🙁

    This is just the tip of the iceberg. What a mess we’ve made.

  6. We will be paying the price for ignorance and fascist lies from Russian trolls for even more decades, Bubba.

  7. I agree with Don. The virus hysteria will affect things for a very long time. If I had a connection at AMS, I would have changed my flight weeks ago … AMS has been in the news for a long time. Nothing seems to be able to ‘bounce back’ from operational issues, things just get worse and worse. What on earth do the pax do who pay no attention to their reservations, don’t check in online, and show up with luggage? What a nightmare.

  8. @Bobo Bolinski

    The fascists were the ones forcing people to get vaxxed. They were the ones arresting people for going outside and they were the ones knowingly lying about how ineffective masks were. As usual and as with ww2 the fascists are lefties.

  9. My mom and I are on a 6A flight out of Norway, connecting through ANS to Venice and saw the text at 3A. We quickly repacked into two large carry ons each for our 10 day trip and are hoping the gate agents don’t give us any crap. We were glad to be at my house (and not a hotel or already on vacation) so we could make this work.

  10. Holland is supposed to be the leftist
    ideal of how every country is supposed to be run. I guess it isnt as good as leftists claimed. Labour and food shortages are what you inevitably get when you vote in these authoritarian leftist goverments.

  11. Going OSL AMS ATL today (the 21st). I saw that notice yesterday and interpreted it as European City to European City. Will let you know what happens. We hav 3 bags to check. Think they’ll let us cram them on the plane (in the cabin)? Think they’ll pay for us to ship them FedEx. Will keep you posted.

  12. Just because they have universal healthcare doesn’t make them a socialist nanny state. Rest assured that the Dutch are very attuned to the capitalistic mindset.

    If indeed KLM is only offering “rebook with fare difference” or “voucher” for refusing to honor their contact of carriage, what redress would passengers have? For EC 261/4, they’d have to be denied boarding as well.

  13. @wesley flunked political science. Probably flunked everything else. proves you can’t fix stupid.

  14. Just checked in for OSL-AMS-ATL on KLM. Agent at first said we couldn’t check our bags. I challenged it, she called her supervisor, and then we were allowed to check our bags. She did not understand the notification. So our bags are checked all the way to ATL. Whether they make it through the minefield that is AMS, time will tell. More later.

  15. Make carryon bags free if you do not have a checked bag. That should clear up some of this problem.

  16. Our bags are lost in hell somewhere between Amsterdam and Budapest we are praying we get our bags before we have to head home on July 30th

  17. I went through the “Schipol Shitstorm” on Monday. Got to the airport 3 1/2 hours before my flight to Frankfurt. It took that long just to get through the security line at Departure one. So many people in line had missed their flights. Barely made my flight (after they changed the gate at the last minute!) and the gate agent wanted me to check my bag because it “looked too big” to fit in the overhead bin. I begged and pleaded with her to not do this. I had been aware of the nightmare and didn’t want to take that chance. She kindly let me go through. I get on the plane and there was plenty of overhead space for my bag. Last part — the plane was delayed because one passenger never arrived (probably stuck in the security line) and they had to search for that person’s checked bag and remove it. No telling where that bag is now. It was a terrible experience, but I’m fortunate I made it through relatively unscathed.

  18. @Wesley – do you really think that leftist government fired labor during corona time ? It seems to me that you are melting

  19. I transited through US-AMS-BRU last month, and it was a little slow, but made a short connection (1:15) with time to spare. This was first thing in the AM, and time of day and whether connecting or entering the airport seem to be major factors.

    I will be flying US-AMS and AMS-LHR (4 hour connection, at least) -US next month. I sure hope this is somewhat better by then. One of the issues with changing flights if it isn’t is that, as you can imagine, getting through to KLM/AF on the phone is a very long wait. Last time, I tried but gave up.

  20. @Don, so did your bags make it to ATL all safe and sound and in one piece? What was it like transiting AMS. I will be transiting AMS next week on my way to HEL (how ironic).

  21. @Wesley

    The Netherlands has the least authoritarian government in the European Union. The current dominant political parties in control of the legislature are described as conservative. Maybe do a little research before commenting…

  22. They should not be hassling people at the gate if they aren’t checking bags. That’s ridiculous

    Reason #1001 I never check bags

  23. I am curious if anyone flew on July 20/2022 from AMS (Amsterdam) to DTW (Detroit) with Delta DL133. Today, 5 days later all I have is File Reference Number. I have no luggage and no notification from Delta that they have my luggage.

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