Tag Archives: Amsterdam

Best International Airports for Layovers Critiqued

Our lovely friends over at Forbes have recently come up with their selection of the best international airport for layovers. It’s a great idea and something we have been discussing for a while here at LateDeparture. So, in true LD-style, let’s get that red pen out and add some notes to their recommendations:

London Heathrow Airport (IATA: LHR)

Yes, London is exciting, however, the airport overall isn’t. Don’t get us wrong, we really like what they’ve done with Terminal 5 and the Virgin Clubhouse in Terminal 3 is simply fantastic, however, the average traveller would probably be quite underwhelmed by the airport overall. It still feels too crowded, outdated and confusing. Plus there’s always the chance of getting in or out late because of the airport is already at 99% capacity with its 2 runways. But then it is London, well known for being eccentric and a bit chaotic. So if that’s what you like, you’ll have a great time there!

Hong Kong International (IATA: HKG)

Yes, Hong Kong should definitely be on that list; we wrote about it numerous times, for example in one of our most famous headlines reading “When little airports grow up, they become Hong Kong International“. The airport has also won numerous awards and certainly has our seal of approval!

Munich International Airport (IATA: MUC)

Munich airport has two faces: a happy one and a rather confused if not angry one. Let us explain this further: Munich is one of the Lufthansa hubs and therefore receives special treatment by the German airline. The carrier occupies one terminal exclusively (together with its Star Alliance partners). This terminal, Terminal 2, is really nice and offers plenty of options for shopping or consuming one of those famous Oktoberfest beers. On the other side, Terminal 1 is dull and boring and doesn’t seem to fit next to its upmarket cousin. However, there’s a solution if you are not flying through Terminal 2: head outside and get into that middle section between the two terminals. There you find a few restaurants and other interesting stuff to spend your time with (read our more detailed review titled “Oktoberfest atmosphere at Munich Airport” to gain further insights).

Singapore Changi Airport (IATA: SIN)

Yes, yes, and yes! This airport ticks all the boxes and definitely belongs in this list. And no, we don’t get any money for writing this. But it is an open secret that this airport has been our long lasting favourite and we’ve covered it extensively (e.g. read our detailled review of Changi’s crown jewel, Terminal 3 here).

Amsterdam Schiphol (IATA: AMS)

Amsterdam, Amsterdam, what can we say? Maybe that we love you? There’s certainly no doubt that this is an exciting airport with plenty to see and do. In our opinion it’s probably the best European airport as it’s got the perfect size, it’s big but not too big. Plus similar to Changi airport, Amsterdam keeps introducing new and exciting things.  The latest one was the banner vending machine – we wrote about it. If you want to read more about the airport, a good start is our review here.

That’s where the Forbes list ends. Overall we believe it’s a good selection but might miss out on mentioning South Korea’s Incheon International Airport (IATA: ICN), an airport that has also regularly won awards, Zurich Airport (IATA: ZRH) which we also featured a number of times (e.g. here) or good old Los Angeles International (IATA: LAX) albeit not for the airport itself, but for it’s great location only minutes away from the beach and other superb layover options (read our extensive LAX reviews here, here and here).

[Photo from Flickr – Some rights reserved by Gerrit Wenz]

Last news of 2011: Christchurch again, French strikes & free Wi-Fi

Only seven more days remain in 2011 and it’s therefore time for us at LateDeparture to pack up and enjoy a little (well deserved?!) break. But of course, we won’t leave you before we put another, final round of airport news in front of you. Besides that, you should already get excited for coming back to LateDeparture in January as not only will we continue to review airports and bring you weekly airport related news, but also we will be presenting you with the very first Airport News of the Year Award in early January. The best of all this is, that you can vote for the news you liked best and as a result win some awesome prizes! So stay tuned and get ready for a big 2012!

Continue reading Last news of 2011: Christchurch again, French strikes & free Wi-Fi

Video of Amsterdam Schiphol’s banner vending machine

A few weeks ago we reported in our weekly news the arrival of the world’ first airport self-serving banner printing machine at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport (IATA: AMS). According to the Reuters report then the airport has the world’s first vending machine capable of printing out personalised giant canvas banners in just a few minutes. Apparently you can pick your message, whether that is “Mama = sweet” (as pictured), “I love you”, “Will you marry me?”, or anything else that makes you stand out from the crowd, choose the font and background design, pay between four and 15 euros ($19.98) depending on the length of the banner, and hit the button.

Reading a press release and seeing it in action are often two things, so ever since we read that story we wondered how this service really worked and – in true LateDeparture style – we didn’t rest until we got hold of a video proof of the ingenious machine.

While the video is in Dutch, the lovely guys at Schiphol provided us with English subtitles. But who cares anyway as pictures speak a million words:

Case rested. We now we only wonder who will be first to print out a large “LateDeparture.com rocks!” banner? Whoever it is, a fabulous prize will be awaiting them (photo proof required)…

[Pictures and video from Schiphol Airport – all rights reserved]

This week: Heathrow angst, Schiphol innovation & the bikini girl

Unexpectedly no Thanksgiving horror stories hit us this week, but we did receive a long number of other stories coming all the way from Thailand and Amsterdam. Angst surrounding the United Kingdom’s largest airport also made it into our round-up this week. And finally we found a story that’s been waiting to be published from Los Angeles. Well, sort of.

Continue reading This week: Heathrow angst, Schiphol innovation & the bikini girl

This week: Dutch girls, Arkansas crew and Serbian business

This week has been a fairly quiet week in airport news terms. Nevertheless we still found few very interesting stories all the way from Amsterdam, Arkansas and Belgrade for you. They even all have one common theme – can you figure it out?

Continue reading This week: Dutch girls, Arkansas crew and Serbian business

Lucky to get stranded in Amsterdam

Surely you heard about the biggest snowfall in England in 18 years on Monday (news stories here and here). Coincidently I traveled that day from Tanzania back to London through Amsterdam. Not surprising that our connecting KLM flight to London Heathrow therefore received a lengthy delay of almost 6 hours (kudos to KLM though who were quick to organize a Boeing 747 bundling several London flights into one). This was time enough to have a really good look at what Amsterdam Schiphol (IATA: AMS) has to offer.

In summary, Schiphol offers a lot. Of course, you find the usual things like Duty Free Shops, Cafés, Burger joints and bars. But Schiphol goes further, a lot further actually: You can find everything from a full Casino in the main terminal, a branch of the famous Rijksmuseum with a drawing from Rembrandt among the display to one of the Yotel chains that offer affordable, modern rooms for as short as 4 hours.

But even if you are just looking for a quick refreshment, Schiphol has it: you will find shower cabins in the toilets in front of the First Aid on the first floor of the main hall, between the airport lounges 41 and 42. There, you also find comfort seats for you to rest from your busy travelling life. And if you need refreshment for your stomach, try the noodle soup (€15) at “Noodles” next to the T5 transfer desks.

Finally, even the usually from airports banned smokers will like the Dutch version as there is a smokers cell room on the first floor next to the airport lounge 42. However, if you are looking for a typical Amsterdam coffee shop you are out of luck unless you book one of the Holland Tours directly from the airport and make it into the city (disclaimer: I am not suggesting anything here! ;-)).

Now to the tricky part, the Top-5: I really had to think about it hard this time as there are so many things you can do – here are my favourite five:

  1. Visit the Rijksmuseum branch and find the Rembrandt drawing
  2. Eat a pot of pork noodle soup at “Noodles”
  3. Buy some Dutch cheese from the Delikatessen shop (alternatively, buy some famous Dutch liquorish)
  4. Count how many Dutch, blond ladies you see that are over 1.90m tall (6’3″) – trust me you need more than one hand to count them!
  5. Try to find Starbucks (remember, the Berlin task?) – it’s not that tricky here, but you may need some time depending on your destination (this is already a hint)…


Airport Facts and Ratings

Airport Name Amsterdam Schiphol
Website http://www.schiphol.nl
Design LateDeparture.com Plane Award PointLateDeparture.com Plane Award PointLateDeparture.com Plane Award PointLateDeparture.com Plane Award Point
Shopping LateDeparture.com Plane Award PointLateDeparture.com Plane Award PointLateDeparture.com Plane Award PointLateDeparture.com Plane Award PointLateDeparture.com Plane Award Point
Toilets LateDeparture.com Plane Award PointLateDeparture.com Plane Award PointLateDeparture.com Plane Award Point
Overall LateDeparture.com Plane Award PointLateDeparture.com Plane Award PointLateDeparture.com Plane Award PointLateDeparture.com Plane Award Point
Chanel No 5 Eau de Parfum, 100ml at the Duty Free Shop €84.50 (£75.10)
Bottle of Veuve Cliquot at the Duty Free Shop €32.95 outside the EU (£29.30)