Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
Nitpicking the negatives
Schiphol has one glaring deficiency: a security system that causes monumental traffic jams at busy departure gates.
Unlike the typical U.S. airport, Schiphol has an X-ray machine and metal detector at each gate in most cases. This means that 400 people boarding a jumbo jet must funnel through a single metal detector. Once they're in the gate area, they can't leave--even if the flight gets delayed.
To make matters worse, the gate areas don't have enough seating for large numbers of people. It's hard to believe that the efficient Dutch created such a clumsy boarding system.
Tips on toilets
Schiphol Airport has plenty of free lavatories, though some are down or up a flight of steps. If you aren't able to negotiate stairs, use the restrooms in the main terminal areas before heading for the departure gates.
One nice thing about Schipol's restrooms is the fact that toilet stalls are fully enclosed rooms (like those in many European airports, and unlike the stalls in North American public lavatories). This allows a traveler to hang up a coat and handbag and set down a carry-on bag without worrying about theft.
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