In an almost unprecedented move (but necessary one), Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport is compensating flyers who have missed flights due to ultra-long security wait times.
Schiphol is one of several airports in Europe that has been dealing with staff shortages and very high travel demand. The airport has been forced to close sections of the airport and reduce the number of flights due to the lack of personnel. This has caused massive delays for passengers travelling through the airport.
Lack of staff at security checkpoints have caused long lines and thousands of missed flights at the Airport. KLM had to suspend ticket sales because of the situation in May of this year.
Schiphol's Goal: Avoid a Mass Claim for Compensation by Flyers
Schiphol and the Dutch Consumers' Association made the announcement on Thursday evening (August 11th) with the goal of avoiding a 'possible mass claim for compensation by passengers'.
“A lot of people have really been looking forward to their holidays abroad, especially after two years of COVID. We’re extremely sorry that some people have missed their flight due to the long security control queue,” Schiphol CEO Dick Benschop said in a statement.
“During these special times and circumstances, we must not let these people fall through the cracks,” he added.
Sandra Molenaar, director of the Dutch Consumers' Association, said:
“We investigated the possibility of a mass claim and then entered into discussions with Schiphol. Our joint efforts have resulted in this arrangement, which has helped a large group of consumers.”
Who Qualifies for Compensation for Missed Flights at Schiphol?
If a passenger missed a flight from Schiphol between April 23rd and August 11th, they may be eligible for compensation. This is because they arrived at the airport on time, but missed the flight because they were stuck in a queue.
It covers the costs of additional travel and lodging, as well as transport and activities booked at the end destination. The amount of compensation has not been released at the time of this publication nor did the airport say what the cost to Schiphol would likely be.
Post-pandemic, airlines and airports are facing a difficult decision: whether to quickly ramp back up to serve the new burst of travellers or to keep staffing at current levels. This decision is complicated by the fact that both airlines and airport staff are striking over pay and working conditions.
The potential consequences of either choice are significant. If airlines and airports choose to quickly ramp back up, they run the risk of not having enough staff to meet demand. This has resulted in long lines and frustrated travellers. On the other hand, if airlines and airports choose to keep staffing at current levels, they risk losing business to competitors who are able to quickly ramp up.
Kudos to Schiphol for at least being proactive. You may very well see more airports follow suit.