Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport is compensating passengers who missed their flights due to hours-long security queues.
The Dutch airport is one of several across Europe, including London's Heathrow, that has been plunged into chaos by staff shortages and soaring demand.
Why is Schiphol offering compensation to passengers?
Staff shortages at security checkpoints led to lengthy queues that caused thousands of travellers to miss their flights. In May, the situation caused Dutch flagship carrier KLM to suspend ticket sales from Amsterdam.
“A lot of people have really been looking forward to their holidays abroad, especially after two years of COVID. We’re extremely sorry that some people have missed their flight due to the long security control queue,” Schiphol CEO Dick Benschop says in a statement.
“During these special times and circumstances, we must not let these people fall through the cracks,” he adds.
The announcement, made on Thursday night (11 August) heads off a possible mass claim for compensation by passengers.
“We investigated the possibility of a mass claim and then entered into discussions with Schiphol. Our joint efforts have resulted in this arrangement, which has helped a large group of consumers,” says Sandra Molenaar, director of the Dutch Consumers' Association, in a statement on Schiphol's website.
Who is entitled to compensation from Schiphol Airport?
People who missed flights from Schiphol between 23 April and 11 August may be eligible for compensation. Passengers must have arrived at the airport on time but missed their flight because they were stuck in a queue.
The compensation covers costs for replacement flights, extra travel and accommodation, and transport and activities booked at the travellers' destination.
Schiphol did not say how much the compensation scheme would cost the airport.
What’s causing chaos at airports in Europe?
Airlines and airports slashed jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, making it difficult to quickly ramp back up to serve the new burst of travellers. At the same time, airport and airline staff are striking over pay and working conditions.
As air travel rebounds from two years of restrictions, the industry is struggling to cope.
London's Heathrow said on Thursday that its cap on the daily number of departing passengers has eased the travel crunch at Britain’s largest airport. It apologised last month to passengers whose travels were disrupted by staff shortages.