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Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Special Assistance – Travelling With A Disability

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 up on 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.

Emma sitting in her wheelchair at Amsterdam airport beside a jet engine from a KML aircraft.

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.

Emma sitting in the front row on an easyJet plane. The plane door is open, all passengers have disembarked but Emma is waiting on special assistance to arrive to help her off the plane. 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.

A view of Emma's wheelchair out the plane door at the bottom of the aircraft stairs.

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.

Special Assistance

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 as 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.

Emma being transferred from an aisle chair to her wheelchair inside the ambulift truck by two special assistance agents.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.

Emma being escorted through Amsterdam Airport Schiphol by a special assistance agent.They then took us to meet 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.

EasyJey check-in desks at Amsterdam Airport. One desk has a screen above showing that it is a special assistance 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.

The special assistance waiting area at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.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.

Emma sitting in her wheelchair inside the ambulift truck waiting to board the easyJet plane.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.

Final Thoughts

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 with Special Assistance at this airport?

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Special Assistance Pinterest image

You might also enjoy:
Corendon Vitality Hotel Amsterdam | Wheelchair Accessible Hotel In Amsterdam
3 Days In Amsterdam: A Wheelchair Users Travel Guide to Amsterdam

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Meet Emma

Hello I’m Emma. My mission is to show you the possibilities of accessible travel through my travel guides, tips and reviews. I also share personal stories, live event reviews and more.

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9 Responses

  1. My experience was the same as yours. This was my first plane trip since a stroke and left side paralysis. I was very anxious about boarding a plane and the whole process was very comfortable. The ground crew also did a good job getting us to our luggage and transportation from the airport.

    1. Thanks for your comment Mary. I’m so pleased you received a great service at this airport too. It makes such a big difference when the special assistance agents are helpful and understanding. Travelling is stressful enough so it’s great when the agents make things easier 🙂

  2. Nice review and this let’s me still hoping to travel to Amsterdam one day.

    When I visited Valencia several times I was also impressed with their service as a passenger with disabilities. Their friendly, polite and empathic. Especially when I see how horrible the service in Germany sometimes is. Due this fact we used the airport in Zurich caution it’s not a dealbreaker to use that one instead of Stuttgart or Munich.

    So happy definitely need to visit Amsterdam and Edinburgh as soon as possible.

    Keep on writing. I’m still loving your posts.

    1. Oh wow Lukas – thank you so much. I’m so happy you are still enjoying my posts. Means a lot. Thank you!

      I would love to know how you get on in Amsterdam when you visit. It would be great to know if you receive the same great service 🙂

      Also thank you for letting me know about Valencia. Did you enjoy visiting Valencia? Was accessibility good?

  3. Hello Emma. My name is Leticia from Brazil. We are going to Amsterdam on may/2019. I’m so glad to know about your experience. My father use a wheelchair and he’s going to land with my mother, alone, in Amsterdam. They do not speak a perfect english, but just to hear about your experiences, makes me feel more confortable. Tks a lot.

  4. Unfortunately I travelled in December with Schiphol airport on way to America and my experience was complete opposite to yours. We arrived at the airport, and was put in the special assistance lounge, which was overpacked as more people than space. I must have asked a dozen time when will I be taken to my gate as I could see the boarding time coming and gone, and even the time of my flight approaching very quickly! They took me at the gate while people were boarding and I was the last one to be taken on the plane, well having to be wheeled in the aisle chair while other passenger was settling was far from a comfortable experience and having to b transferred while people had to move about make it very self-conscious and uncomfortable. The staff themselves were wonderful but the organisation was horrendous. I have travelled many time through that airport and I would sadly say my experience has been the majority of my trips. Few have been well organised. Maybe it is due to travel in very busy periods.

  5. I stumbled upon this blog through Google and wanted to mention that just before you-know-what started, I had to change planes in Schiphol with my partner, who is blind. (The route on the way there was Munich-Schiphol-Atlanta on KLM planes; the way back was Atlanta-Munich on a Delta plane.) We also had a really positive experience. KLM made sure we boarded first and knew my partner’s name and where he was seated. In Amsterdam, we were met at the gate and taken directly through a separate customs and security line with no wait. We were promptly picked up at a lounge for passengers with disabilities and then taken to the second flight. The Amsterdam library has a small branch at the airport and has books in many languages – there were even books in braille! My partner said he felt like a VIP. The trip back from Atlanta was really not disability-friendly and Delta had no record of my partner’s disability, even though I’d called to confirm that the airline had that information in advance, but that’s probably the topic for another blog.

  6. I started to use an electric wheelchair in 2017, I have never been on a plane yet and am a bit confused and afraid tbh. Confused cause I don’t fully understand the process and afraid that I will be treated as crap and I will lash out and the police will come and get me 😂
    Could you do a blog post about the entire process for dummies basically? Lol

    1. Hi Lima, thank you for your comment. It’s totally understandable to be worried about travelling as a wheelchair user, but it is possible. I’ve got a few blog posts about travelling as a wheelchair user from a few years ago. I’ll link them below for you. I do plan to write update blog posts with my tips and explain the process, so please subscribe to my blog for updates on when I post new articles. Thanks again 🙂

      https://www.simplyemma.co.uk/how-to-survive-a-long-haul-flight-as-a-wheelchair-user/

      https://www.simplyemma.co.uk/tips-for-disabled-and-wheelchair-accessible-travel/

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