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Greetings, fellow travelers! If you’ve ever had the delight (or misfortune) of navigating the winding terminals of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport at the peak of travel season, you’ll find my recent adventure both relatable and, hopefully, mildly entertaining. Compared to 2022, the waiting is shorter, but the experience remains bad.

Picture this: You’ve made it through security, eyes glazed over from the early morning flight, and you’re yearning for the sanctuary of the Aspire Lounge. However, upon arrival, you’re met with a sign that bluntly states “Closed for Renovations”. You blink, once, twice, and yes, the sign remains unchanged. Not the start one hopes for, right?

Undeterred, I follow the redirected crowd towards the alternative waiting area, the curiously named Cafe Flor located near gate D7. Little did I know, my adventure had only just begun. The make-shift Aspire lounge at Cafe Flor, it turns out, was ill-prepared for the sudden influx of weary travelers.

Here, we played a new game: “Who will be chosen next?”. The rules were unclear, the players confused, and the officials, the Aspire Lounge/Cafe Flor staff, stoic in their disinterest. While it was evident that business class passengers were prioritized – which is absolutely fine – the lack of transparency and communication was as thick as the layer of dust collecting on the tables. Yes, folks, cleanliness wasn’t exactly their forte that day.

Despite our pleas for clarification, the staff responded with a phrase that could be their motto: “It’s your choice to go to the lounge or not”. Charming, right? As for the digital queue system, it was as static as the expression of the staff. While the wait-time of almost an hour was a test of patience, watching others being granted immediate access felt like an added slap in the face. An intriguing cocktail of frustration and exhaustion, wouldn’t you say?

The experience became almost farcical when, finally admitted, we had to dart out almost instantly for our flight. Talk about timing!

Now, I love a good adventure as much as the next person, but Schiphol Airport’s management could use some basic lessons in logistics and hospitality. My humble advice? Prioritize transparency, friendliness, and a willingness to listen to passenger feedback. And yes, a clean lounge would be appreciated.

All in all, the experience taught me valuable lessons about expectations and the importance of a well-managed airport system. Schiphol, here’s to hoping you turn things around by my next visit!

Until then, happy travels, everyone! May your airport lounges be open, your queues short, and your lounge staff friendly and receptive.

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