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.
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.
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).
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.
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!