Our trip to Amsterdam seems like a distant memory now but was only a few months ago. I never planned on reviewing my experience of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol special assistance, but I want to share my thoughts on how good I found the service. I also thought it would be good to follow on from my review of Edinburgh Airport special assistance from the same trip. Unfortunately, because I didn’t plan to do this review beforehand I didn’t manage to get any video footage or more photos. So here is my review of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Special Assistance when travelling with a disability.
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Special Assistance Experience – Inbound Flight
Arrival in Amsterdam
Our flight to Amsterdam was a quick one. Only 1 hour 10 mins from Edinburgh Airport with easyJet. We thought the flight was going to be a little longer so we were pleasantly surprised when the captain informed us of the shortened flight time. This was perfect after already being delayed almost two hours after the chaos the thunderstorms were causing to flights across Europe.
It was late when we landed in Amsterdam. I think it was around 11:30 pm. I was tired and sore as I had been working that day and left for the airport straight after work. Our bed at Corendon Vitality hotel was calling our names (loudly).
Unfortunately, special assistance wasn’t ready for me when our flight arrived in Amsterdam so we had to wait. We were hoping it wouldn’t take too long, but it wasn’t looking good as the minutes ticked by. Our Salders taxi driver even phoned to ask where we were and due to the language barrier one of the lovely cabin crew kindly spoke to him and explained we were still on the plane.
The most frustrating part of having to wait on the plane was seeing my wheelchair at the bottom of the aircraft stairs. We could see it but weren’t able to get to it. Allan would have happily carried me down the stairs if it meant getting me back in my chair quickly and to our hotel, so I could go to the toilet and rest.
Finally, special assistance arrived 40 minutes after our arrival. They immediately apologised for the delay and explained that they were the only assistance available. Both men were very nice to me and I instantly felt comfortable with them. Isn’t it crazy how you can immediately sense if someone is warm and friendly?
We explained to them how I like to lifted and my lack of trunk and neck control. They were fantastic and without hesitation lifted me from my seat into the aisle chair efficiently while supporting my legs and head. I’ve never felt so comfortable, safe and secure with any special assistance team than I did with them.
Even though myself and Allan explain to everyone helping me that I have zero trunk control/balance I’m still always worried I’ll fall over because they never seem to listen or just don’t have the understanding/common sense to provide the physical support I need to remain sitting upright. However, these two special assistance agents were brilliant and supported my knees, head and upper body without me having to tell them. They immediately understood and did their job. It felt good not to worry or be on edge that I was going to fall. It was also nice to look at Allan and not see him worrying or shouting over to watch my head etc.
They wheeled me into the ambulift and then safely transferred me into my wheelchair. There is nothing quite like the feeling of getting back into your own wheelchair. Heaven.
They then took us to met a woman who escorted us through the airport and helped us find our taxi driver outside. By this time it was around 12:30 am, but the outside of the airport was still super busy so it was great that the woman made sure to take us to our taxi as we probably would have struggled to find it ourselves. She was brilliant and we couldn’t fault the special assistance service at all.
Amsterdam Airport Special Assistance Experience – Outbound Flight
Drop Off Area & Check-In
We booked a Salders Taxi to pick us up from our hotel and take us to the airport. We were dropped off at Departure 3 and made our way to the easyJet check-in desk.
Check-in was fairly quick and the agent filled in the necessary paperwork for my wheelchair. We usually like to make our own way through the airport and to the departure gate, but we were taken over to the special assistance waiting area where someone would come to get us.
Special Assistance & Security
A special assistance agent came for us after 15 minutes and took us through security and to departures. The reason we like to make our own way through is that we can stop and browse the shops and do what we want. However, the special assistance agent was understanding and was happy to wait while we popped into a few shops for supplies and the toilet. He was very helpful and professional.
After we had got our supplies for the flight and had been to the toilet we waited at gate H3. Then two other special assistance agents appeared. They took us down a lift and onto the ambulift truck.
We were a little early so we waited inside the ambulift for our plane to arrive. It was pretty cool to watch the plane arrive, the passengers disembark and the ground crew go about their duties before it took off again.
When it was time for us to board the ambulift driver drove us over to the plane. The special assistance agents began transferring me from my wheelchair into the aisle chair. Again, they were very safe and efficient, understanding what support I needed. I’m not sure what training is given to the special assistance agents at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol but I really feel like they know what they’re doing.
Once securely fastened into the aisle chair I was boarded onto the plane and transferred into my seat. They made sure I was sitting comfortably and put my belt on. There were no problems whatsoever.
The rest of the passengers began boarding after I was on the plane which is how it should always be done and what should have happened at Edinburgh airport.
This was my first time ever travelling to/from Amsterdam airport so I was a little nervous about what the special assistance service was going to be like. I can honestly say that I loved the service I received at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol . Maybe I was lucky on these occasions, but I would like to think that this is the service all disabled passengers receive from this airport. The staff I encountered were friendly, kind, professional, attentive and supportive. They clearly had a great understanding and awareness of disability and effectively put that into action when providing assistance to disabled passengers.
Have you travelled to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol? What has been your experience of Special Assistance at this airport?