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Terrible Experience in Amsterdam Airport

Mount Dora, Florida
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
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14,142 posts
245 reviews
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Terrible Experience in Amsterdam Airport

Both my husband and I are older. I have had a disability problem for many years, and in the last three years my husband has also developed a problem. Accordingly, when we do not travel with our mobility scooters we request wheelchair assistance at the airport.

Several weeks ago in Amsterdam I allowed myself to be lured from the airplane with the promise that wheelchairs were waiting at the end of the jetway. I know better than to do this, but I did it. Of course, there were no wheelchairs waiting.

Eventually a small golf cart type of transportation arrived, and there was one seat available. The man driving the cart said my husband was not entitled to ride it because we had not made an advanced reservation. He told him he would have to walk but the gate for our next flight was very near.

I rode to the gate while he started to walk. The gate was a huge distance. It was in another complete wing of the airport, and I would estimate that it was at least 15 blocks. We did not have much time to make the plane change. When I saw how long it took us to reach the gate I requested that the man with the cart return to get my husband, but he refused. I then spoke with the KLM agent at the gate. He did say that my husband was registered as needing a wheelchair, and he agreed that he should not have been expected to walk such a huge distance, but he then shrugged his shoulders and said that the wheelchair people were contracted and there was nothing he could do.

My husband eventually arrived at the gate, just before they closed the doors to the plane. He was, however, in so much pain that he could barely move for the next few days.

I did complain to Delta Airlines, which is the airline that obtained our KLM ticket. We received some frequent flyer miles as an acknowledgement of the problem, but that did not change the quality of service we received in Amsterdam, nor did it give us back the vacation days we missed while my husband was recovering from his journey in the Amsterdam airport.

I try to never write things on a TA forum such as "Never go to the Amsterdam Airport" because I understand that our experience may not be typical. I had been informed that this airport was one of the most helpful airports in the world, but that was not our experience. Between the lack of assistance, the arrogance of the people who did not manage our problem and the magnitude of the problem we had to manage on our own, we will not be traveling through Amsterdam again.

If you need to go through this airport I advise that you check several times to make sure that your wheelchair request has been processed, and then, do not leave the airplane until there is a wheelchair there for your use. As long as you are on the plane the flight crew cannot leave, and it is in their interest to make sure you can leave quickly.

Nowy Sacz, Poland
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4,024 posts
42 reviews
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1. Re: Terrible Experience in Amsterdam Airport

Virgin Atlantic did the exact same thing to me at Heathrow. We waited at the top saw the crew go by, and it was maybe 25-30 mknutes before a passing staff member said "can I help you?" and went off in search of our missing assistance.

So I agree 100% - don't get off until the chair is at the plane door.

London, England
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2. Re: Terrible Experience in Amsterdam Airport

I am sorry your husband had this experience. I have travelled through Amsterdam and had wheelchair assistance provided perfectly OK.

Last Saturday I arrived in London Gatwick and had pre-booked assistance. However, I had checked in a mobility scooter I did not need the assistance as they brought the scooter to the door of the plane for me. In the meantime, the buggy driver was complaining he had more customers on his buggy than he was expecting. Obviously passengers who had not booked assistance had got on the buggy, but nobody had checked this.

At the originating airport there was my self and two other people who had assistance. One of the pax was still on the plane awaiting to be lifted off, I was on my scooter, so who did he have on his buggy. The buggies in LGW can take 7 passengers, so he'd obviously messed it up.

I think it unfair and selfish for other passengers to do this and half the time there is absolutely nothing wrong with them, apart from lazyitis.

I sympathise with your husband having had such a long walk and hope he enjoyed the remainder of his holiday.

Edited: 27 November 2012, 18:50
3. Re: Terrible Experience in Amsterdam Airport

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