Suitcase chaos at Schiphol: ‘16,000 suitcases are here, even outside’

The problems with abandoned suitcases at Schiphol are getting bigger. Thousands upon thousands of suitcases and pieces of luggage are piling up at the airport. Theyre even outside.

Due to staff shortages at baggage handlers and airline companies, chaos has also arisen behind the scenes at Schiphol.

DecceIt spoke to five baggage workers who want to remain anonymous. They say that there are about 16,000 suitcases at Schiphol. โ€œThere are so many, that some stacks of suitcases are even outside.โ€

Pictures of the current situation at Schiphol:

A baggage attendant says the cause is mismanagement. โ€œIn corona times, so many colleagues have been cut away, now we have the baked pears.โ€

The teams are often supplemented with temporary workers. โ€œSometimes it is so busy that colleagues close the door behind them because outside all people are in tears, but we cant actually help them,โ€ says an employee.

The employees hold their hearts for the coming weeks, when many people go on a summer vacation. Because the stacks are not getting smaller: on average, no more than 100 to 200 suitcases per day are collected by the rightful owner.

Too few hands

KLM confirms that more suitcases than usual still need to be sent to passengers. โ€œWe find this very annoying for our customers. We are working hard and hard on it and deploying additional (office) staff to ensure that our customers get their luggage back as quickly as possibleโ€, says a KLM spokesperson.

KLM mainly blames it on the crowds and staff shortages. Because passengers are in the security queue for a long time, flights are missed, and suitcases of those passengers have to be removed from the plane.

The problem with suitcases has never been greater,โ€ says a baggage worker who has been working for KLM for years. โ€œBefore corona, we used to have a computer malfunction, but now it has become almost common for suitcases everywhere.โ€

Dutch Pride

Minister Harbers of Infrastructure believes that the โ€œnational prideโ€ is at stake. It is now important to put things in order. โ€œThe airlines that have done everything they can to keep their flights at Schiphol afloat must now realize that a summer vacation is only fun if the swimming trunks and flip-flops are also included.โ€ He therefore calls on the parties to do everything they can to achieve that.

EU claim, an organization that stands up for the rights of air passengers, also speaks of โ€œpiles and stacks and stacks of suitcasesโ€ at Schiphol Airport. โ€œIts chaos,โ€ says Hendrik Noorderhaven of EU claim. The number of applications for EU claim goes through the roof. โ€œThousands of requests, weve never experienced this before.โ€

Travellers report to EU claim because airlines do not respond. โ€œIts so bad that some airlines cant even report online that youve lost your luggage.โ€ The KLM site says โ€œdo not contact usโ€ when your suitcase is lost. According to Noorderhaven, the only solution is to engage thousands of people to sort suitcases.

Schiphol says it is working hard to find a solution. The airport company hopes that by scrapping a large number of flights and hiring new staff, problems can be avoided in the future.