The travel congestion at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam is so bad that local businesses connected to the airport, such as IT behemoth Microsoft, are sending staff members there as volunteers to assist travelers.
Over 100 workers from other organizations, including Cognizant, a rival IT and consulting firm, and Vanderlande, a manufacturer and provider of baggage belts for airports worldwide, have been assisting in Schiphol’s busy terminals over the past few weeks.
The volunteers are supporting a team of Schiphol office personnel who have been dispatched to the airport to handle lines that have, on occasion, extended for more than a kilometer and assist panicked travelers.
The bright pink hi-visibility tabards that the volunteers and office personnel are required to wear have earned them the nickname “flamingos.”
Since the airport was unable to cope with the sudden and overwhelming increase in demand for travel after the pandemic restrictions were finally lifted earlier this year, Schiphol has been one of the worst hit European airports for long lines and delayed baggage this summer.
Managers at Schiphol implemented a harsh cap on the number of passengers who may depart the airport each day in an effort to calm the commotion inside the terminal.
This restriction, which now only applies to local travelers departing on a daily basis of 67,500, will likely be prolonged through the end of October at the earliest as the airport struggles to find enough security personnel to handle the demand for passengers.
The airport will have to wait until October for an extra 80 new security officers to complete a rigorous training program, despite Schiphol’s claim that 200 new security officers will begin working there in August.
Similar to other airports, Schiphol has placed the blame for some of its problems on travelers, claiming that despite two years of travel restrictions due to the pandemic, travelers are still not following the security regulations, which leads to delays at security checkpoints because more checks are needed.
Unfortunately, according to the airport, the sweltering summer won’t stop with the long lines for security checks. In fact, Schiphol warns that delays may become worse since more passengers will utilize the bins at security to store their vests, boots, and winter coats.