Home Airport Spotting Guide Spotting at Amsterdam Schiphol – Views Inside the Terminal

Spotting at Amsterdam Schiphol – Views Inside the Terminal

by Matt Falcus
spotting at amsterdam
spotting at amsterdam

The View from Gate G8

Amsterdam Schiphol is one of Europe’s biggest and busiest airports, and a major hub for both KLM and Delta Air Lines. Spotting  at Amsterdam is a good choice for any enthusiast into airliners.

Living in the UK, I have travelled through Schiphol many times in order to connect onto European or long-haul flights around the world, and as such I’ve developed a good understanding of where to spot whilst in transit in order to make the most of my time there and cover most aircraft movements.

Schiphol is essentially a single-terminal airport, with piers B-H/M protruding from the main building. Piers B and C are for Schengen flights, and pier H/M is for low-cost airlines. Both require going through passport control, and therefore remove you from the rest of the building.

Amsterdam Terminal Map

A Tour of Schiphol’s Piers

As a first stop, head for Pier D. This one actually splits in two, and in my opinion the right-hand pier is the best. Head to the end, which is gate D31. Along here you will have views of some aircraft parked on the C pier, and importantly you can see the cargo ramp on the far side of runway 06/24, as well as the remote Schiphol Ooste area, where biz jets and unusual types can often be seen.

After covering Pier D, head back towards the main building and walk along the base of piers E and F. There’s no real need to go along these piers as you can see everything from the windows you pass. These piers are mainly home to KLM and Delta long haul airliners.

There are large windows and comfortable seating areas between piers E and F, and F and G, which are good places to grab quick photos and log aircraft parked along each of these piers.

Spotting at Amsterdam

View of Pier E

When heading for Pier G, you’ll walk along an external passageway with windows overlooking part of the pier. Blinds and netting make photography impossible here.

Upon entering the pier walk straight ahead, behind the cafe/bar. From here you can see and photograph aircraft parked at Pier H.

Next, walk the length of Pier G, noting aircraft parked either side – these will include other airliners from North America, Asia and Turkey. You can also see across to long-haul airliners parked up away from the terminal (usually KLM and Surinam Airlines examples).

Gate G8 at Amsterdam

Gate G8 at Amsterdam

At the end of the pier is a nice large window overlooking a runway and taxiway at gate G8. It is good for photography as plenty of aircraft will pass by you from all parts of the airport.

Performing this route a number of times, depending on how long you’re in the airside area, will help you keep on top of movements at Schiphol.

If you want to sit for a drink or bite to eat, one of the better places is the combined seating area in the upstairs food court between piers E and D (McDonalds etc.). You’ll see the distant taxiways and runway, where many aircraft will pass. The nearby Starbucks has similar views from seats behind the counter.


Schengen Piers

Once inside pier C, you still have good views, particularly from the end of the pier, of aircraft on runway 06/24, pier D and the cargo ramps. You’ll also see many of the commuter aircraft which park on the remote ramp.


Do you have a top tip for spotting airside at Amsterdam Schiphol? Leave a comment below!



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Jerry Blenford May 16, 2016 - 10:30 am

Hi Matt.
I was planning a trip to AMS/ Schipol for this year & researched several sites for info on Spotting & photography there.
I happened upon your Airside spotting at AMS article which i read with great interest, & being as informative as it was i printed it off & took it with me as a handy guide to the where to go & how to get to various piers airside.
Well i personally want to thank you for all the info & tips your article provided! It was absolutely spot on!
After landing i was straight up & onto the piers & spent virtually two hours logging aircraft reg’s & taking photos.
I got some excellent pics of aircraft on most of the piers & of them taxiing in & out. I also got some great shots of aircraft on the taxiway from the end of Pier E.
I then spent the next day & a half on the Panorama Terrace till my flight back to LGW.
Once again, thank you for the excellent & very informative article as it helped to make my trip more rewarding & enjoyable than i hoped for.

Matt Falcus May 16, 2016 - 10:38 am

Hi Jerry, thanks for the kind feedback. I’m glad it worked out well for your trip to Amsterdam! So often things can change, so I always welcome any feedback.

John Spencer May 26, 2017 - 7:40 am

Next door to McDonalds in the departure lounge is a kids play area….they’ve used the nose and front fuselage of a Learjet!! Looks great but when I was last there I didn’t think it was real, so I will photograph it in August when I next transit through.

Matt Falcus May 26, 2017 - 7:57 pm

Hi John, yes I did the same! Assumed it was plastic until I found out differently!

Alistair Macdonald May 26, 2017 - 9:47 am

Hi Matt, I’ve also found that if I am on the Schengen side of the terminal; go up the stairs to the Schengen D piers. There is a small outside area which overlooks the ramp and you can log/photograph some of the E pier stands. Also the gates are the very end of the pier (D86/D87) have an excellent view over that side of the field as well as runway 18L/36R

Matt Falcus May 26, 2017 - 7:57 pm

Thanks Alistair, great tip!

Tobias July 18, 2017 - 5:21 pm


Great summary of the airside positions in AMS. For photos i liked the end of E and G the most.
One place missing is the end of pier B where you can take good pictures in the late afternoon and evening as well as in the passge between C and B.


Andrew Clarke August 17, 2019 - 8:58 pm

Hi Matt

I am visiting Schipol in two weeks and arriving Monday from Southend. I guess I can spend all day airside then do the same when I fly home on the Wednesday. Where is the best place to spot on the Tuesday as the terrace is still closed?

Matt Falcus August 18, 2019 - 6:58 pm

Hi Andrew, will you have a car? If so, there are various spots around the perimeter. If not, there are buses around the perimeter. You could go to the McDonalds spot on the northern perimeter (take bus #300 or #342 from outside the terminal).

Andrew Clarke August 18, 2019 - 9:22 pm

Hi Matt, I am staying at the Bastion Hotel and I have seen that there are some places near there to spot from. If not I will look into getting to the McDonalds spot. I have been there before.

Thanks for taking the time to answer me.



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