Photographer: Robin Utrecht/AFP via Getty Images

Amsterdam Airport Tests Express Lane for Light Travelers

  • Streamlined processing for small bags to start on Saturday
  • Airport user KLM has asked for measures to cut waiting lines

Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is looking to give travelers with little or no baggage speedier passage through security by letting them bypass checkpoints clogged with an increasing number of passengers loaded with carry-ons. 

Beginning in July, the airport will start a trial to streamline processing for passengers with no more than a laptop case, small backpack or handbag, according to a statement on Wednesday. Signs at security checkpoints will direct people to a separate entrance for “Small Bags Only,” with airport employees determining if the luggage is indeed suitable. 

Airports have been stepping up efforts to ease the mounting inconveniences of travel. In addition to more stringent security controls, checks have become increasingly cumbersome as more and more people opt for hand baggage instead of checking luggage to avoid airline fees and waiting times at carousels. That strains resources, even for those who travel light.

In addition to the small-bag fast lanes, Schiphol is deploying an extra 350 to 400 staff to help handle an expected crush of 12.4 million passengers during the busy summer season. The airport has also recently added 12 more self-service passport gates, which allow travelers from the European Union to scan their own documents, bringing the total to 78.

‘In Vain’

Schiphol has been embroiled in a public spat with its largest user KLM, the Dutch part of Air France-KLM Group, after long waiting lines disrupted travel over a holiday in early May. Delays cost “several million euros,” KLM said last month, adding that it has been calling “in vain” on Schiphol’s management to take adequate measures for some time.

“This trial will speed up the boarding process for passengers with little baggage, which in turn contributes to a smooth process at the airport,” Schiphol said. “These days, due to costs and convenience, an increasing number of people are choosing to travel with hand baggage only -- which leads to more work at security checkpoints.”

The test is scheduled to start July 1 at departure halls 1, 2 and 3, and will continue at peak hours during the summer. Following the trial, the airport will review the results. 

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