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7 am flight out of AMS- how early to check in?

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Aug 16th, 2013, 10:08 PM
  #1
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7 am flight out of AMS- how early to check in?

Hi-

We are going to the Netherlands and our return flight is at 7 am on a Friday (9/6). I was planning on arriving at Schiphol around 5 am ( we are staying close to the airport at the Steigenberger for the last night). However, I noticed a reply to an earlier email on this forum that recommended arriving 3 hours ahead. Wondering if that time of day we should still leave that amount of extra time.. We will be connecting thru Zurich on the way to the US in case that makes any difference. Thanks.
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Aug 16th, 2013, 11:01 PM
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I think this is the case of one recommendation fits all. 3 hours is the prudent recommendation for return to the US and during a busy time. You are doing neither.
Just to give you a point, last year, I arrived at Schiphol at 7:15am for a flight back to US. By 8:25am, I was at the boarding area after having a light breakfast at the airport. This involved going through the passport control.

Schiphol is a very efficient airport.

Schiphol site says 2hrs for European destinations http://www.schiphol.nl/Travellers/At...ol/Checkin.htm

I think having a game plan helps you manage risks without adding useless idle time.
If you sailed through check-in process, have breakfast at the airport. I doubt you find anything better at Steigenberger at this time. If you encounter check-in delay, then skip breakfast and proceed to the gate immediately.
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Aug 16th, 2013, 11:25 PM
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Please do bear in mind that Schiphol is one of those airports (relatively unusual in Europe) where security is at or near the departure gates. Furthermore, some gates are located a good 10-15 minutes walk from the main terminal area where the shops/restaurants are located. It's essential you montior the departure boards to see when your gate is announced and allow enough time to walk to your gate and clear security. Arriving at 5:00-5:30 am for a 7am flight to Zurich will be fine, provided you heed the above advice.
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Aug 16th, 2013, 11:31 PM
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Since you are going via Zurich you will go through the Schengen hated, with central security checks. At that time of day it shouldn't be too busy, unless a load of charters are leaving at about the same time. In your case 2hours should be enough. I hope you have allowed a good connection time in Zurich, to undergo the security for your U.S.A. flight.
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Aug 17th, 2013, 12:09 AM
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Going via Zurich makes a BIG difference.
In AMS you just check your luggage and go through regular security to the gate.
NO passport control, no extra security for US flights.
Both of the latter will be done in Zurich.
Therefore 2hrs is just fine.
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Aug 17th, 2013, 05:03 AM
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Might make a difference if the desk is even open that early.
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Aug 17th, 2013, 05:18 AM
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A few weeks ago we were at Schiphol at 0-dark-thirty to check in for a flight to Barcelona. I knew we were going to get there too early for the check-in counter to even be checking in our particular flight and I was correct.

There were, however, other check-in counters open for flights to the US and what was happening at some of those were very long lines of people. Apparently most of them had not pre-printed boarding passes so they had to get into one of the lines to do everything as well as check their bags.

I have found that having the pre-printed boarding passes can help IF the airline provides a separate "bag drop only" check-in line at the airport; some do, some don't.

As to the security issue, we found the security pretty fast-moving and despite the fact that Schiphol is huge we had no trouble using the various moving walkways, etc., in getting to our gate in plenty of time.

The mob scene at the gate itself was another thing entirely.
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Aug 17th, 2013, 05:47 AM
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Although eventually you are going to the US your flight out of AMS is domestic - so 3 hours should not be necessary - esp that early in the AM.

But I agree with the question - have you allowed enough time in Zurich for a US check-in - with the extra security and passport control?
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