Holiday crowds pack Schiphol as KLM ground crew go on strike

Schiphol Airport’s departure and arrival halls are more crowded than usual as the May holidays begin, the airport said on its website. The airport expects a spike in travelers around noon on Saturday and higher volume of people throughout the next few weeks.

However, the airport was already packed with people on Saturday morning. Passengers arriving at their designated departure halls for check in were redirected twice by airport staff.

Travelers repeatedly questioned airport staff as the lines of people became restless. An elderly woman in one of the lines sat down on a planter outside, saying she felt faint. “Are we going to miss the flight?” a child asked in Dutch.

The airport also announced possible delays and cancellations due to a sudden strike by KLM’s ground crew, who are responsible for loading and unloading aircraft. About 63 departures have been canceled so far, although not necessarily due to the strike, and dozens of flights have been delayed. Travelers were advised to arrive at least three hours before their flight.

A Schiphol staff member who did not want to be named told NL Times, “This line is from the strike, but the workers called it off. They quit the strike and went back to work. That helps.” However, the end of the strike has not been officially announced by the airport.

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Schiphol expects 174,000 travelers to use the airport every day until May 8. Eindhoven Airport and Rotterdam The Hague Airport similarly forecasted crowds due to the holidays. Eindhoven Airport predicted around 100,000 travelers per week, while Rotterdam The Hague Airport expects 89,000 people to use the airport in the period from April 25 to May 8.

The May holidays officially begin on April 30.