Amsterdam: AMS passport control & transit
March 8, 2019 2:48 AM   Subscribe

Amsterdam: help me guess how long from deplaning at AMS to arrival at Central Station, on a mid-week evening in April? U.S. citizen, but arriving after two weeks in England & Jersey (the flight in question will be JER-LON-AMS on British Air). Only hand baggage, so no wait for checked bags. Nothing unusual in my passport (all my past interactions with passport control have been a couple sentences). Deplaning should start about 6pm. I don't know AMS, but I'm well-traveled / have good transit instincts.
posted by kalapierson to Travel & Transportation around Amsterdam, Netherlands (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You can have surprisingly long taxi times at AMS, so if you're unlucky you can be taxiing for 20 minutes. Once you're out, passport control is usually fast it's really only 2 minutes from the baggage hall to the train station. Then it's 20 minutes on the train plus probably a 10 minute wait.

So worst case is about 1 hour 30 from landing, best case is probably 45 minutes.
posted by samj at 3:22 AM on March 8

I note OP said "deplaning" and not landing, so I assume taxi time has been factored in by the OP already. FWIW, scheduled arrival times are measured at gate arrival, so taxi times are factored into the equation there already. This is quite obvious on particularly short flights between busy airports - you can sometimes see the scheduled times over twice as long as the actual flight times.
posted by ryanbryan at 3:29 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]

I flew into Amsterdam for the first time between Christmas and New Year's, but I connected through Reykjavik so customs wasn't an issue as it could be for you since you're traveling post-Brexit.

The rest was pretty quick, but took me longer than what samj just described. In the train station area I had to figure out how to work the ATM-like machines that sell the OV-Chipkaart used to ride trains and buses. Once I had that card it was just an escalator down to the tracks. Trains to Centraal run very frequently, and Google Maps puts the train ride at 30-40 minutes which is consistent with what I experienced.
posted by jon1270 at 3:30 AM on March 8

I live in the Netherlands but travel on a US passport. I fly into AMS about 4-6 times per year. Over the past two years, the time I've waited in passport control has run the gamut from 10 minutes to 1.5 hours. I find it that it's very, very hard to predict. I'd just assume it will take an hour. Also, samj is right that taxi time at Schiphol can be very long, even if you're coming from the UK.

Customs is basically a non-issue at Schiphol; after you clear passport control, just walk straight through the baggage hall and out the "nothing to declare" door.

One way to speed up the trip is to buy an e-ticket for the train beforehand; then you don't have to worry about the OV-chipkaart machines and can walk straight from customs to the train. The ride to Amsterdam Centraal is 15-20 minutes, depending on which train you get (I recommend using the NS site rather than an third-party app or site).
posted by neushoorn at 4:58 AM on March 8 [4 favorites]

Yes, if you land on the dreaded polderbaan, you taxi almost as long as you flew.
posted by frumiousb at 5:35 AM on March 8 [2 favorites]

Are you making a connection?

If you're not at Centraal in less than 45 minutes, I'll be at the Delirium bar waiting with a beer for you.

Agreed, you don't need to bother with an OV CHipkaart. Just install the NS Reisplanner app on your phone.
posted by humboldt32 at 9:59 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]

I'm connecting with a concert :) and there are two hours between my plane's theoretical arrival time and the concert's start time.

Concert is at the Muziekgebouw, a short walk from Centraal (google maps appears to not believe in the little foot bridge, so makes the walk look twice as long as it is). It's a concert with assigned seating and probably no late seating til intermission, so it'll matter to be on time if I can (or: to be slightly early, for visiting the Muziekgebouw's coat room / bag check).
posted by kalapierson at 12:24 PM on March 8

And thanks for the tip about the NS Reisplanner app! I would LOVE to just buy the ticket in-app, so I can walk straight to the train platform. (I notice the in-app shop seems to require purchase of a ticket for a specific departure time? So do I need to wait til I'm actually nearing the platform to buy it, or will the ticket be valid for a slightly different departure time?)

Most important, is there any way to buy what I really want – a 7-day / 168-hour pass (just GVB, no regional rail needed) – either in the app or in some way I can add to the app? I can't find this option either in the app (which only offers a 1-day all region pass) or on the GVB site (which seems to max out at 3-day pass).
posted by kalapierson at 12:59 PM on March 8

That little foot bridge from the Conservatorium to Hanneke's Boom is closed during construction. You're better off proceeding directly to the back side of Centraal, cross the bike path to the ferry/water side, turn right and walk straight from there.

You just have to pick any departure time. Your ticket is good for any train going to Centraal on that day. Feel free to book it anytime.

NS and GVB are two different companies. You can purchase the GVB day pass from any silver and blue GVB vending machine. There are some in the station, some in the METRO entrance out front, and there's a GVB office in the little white gingerbread building in front of the station.
posted by humboldt32 at 2:45 PM on March 8 [1 favorite]

Good advice so far, but for the day of travel or a bit before, it might be useful to check the Schiphol Airport "My Travel Day" information page. It will give you an idea of weather conditions that might cause delays, general crowd levels, and other conditions that might influence your ability to get out of the airport smoothly.
posted by wakannai at 1:58 AM on March 9

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