How to Save Time When Renting a Car at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
Amsterdam Schiphol airport is big, and busy. With 6 runways and 90 departure gates, it’s Europe’s third busiest airport and over 63 million passengers passed through in 2016. It’s no surprise then that you’ll often find lengthy queues at the car rental desks.
Located in the central Schiphol Plaza, just after arrivals, you’ll find desks for all the major car hire companies including Avis, Budget, Europcar, Enterprise, Hertz and Sixt. Once you’ve collected your bags and passed through customs, you’ll usually need to queue at the relevant desk to fill out the necessary paperwork before making your way to another desk in the car park to collect the keys.
This whole process can take an hour, or more, but there is a way to be in the car and driving away in just 15 minutes from collecting your bag off the carousel.
From Baggage Claim to Driving Away, In 15 Minutes
On a family holiday last year, I’d booked a car with Hertz. The price was reasonable and I get an additional 10% discount, one car class upgrade and free additional driver through the Hertz Gold Plus membership that comes as part of my American Express Gold Membership Rewards card.
Having hired with Hertz before, they’d already verified my driving licence and so I’m now entitled to Hertz “Gold Canopy” service at select locations. Amsterdam Schiphol is one of those locations.
After landing at Schiphol and switching off Flight Safe mode, I received a text and email giving me the registration number (licence plate) of my hire vehicle, the colour and parking bay number. The keys are in the car waiting for you and you simply walk to the relevant car park (which, at Amsterdam Schiphol, is about a 10 minute walk away), find the car, show your driving licence and rental agreement at the barrier and drive away. It really is as simple as that! From the baggage carousel to driving away took just 15 minutes, even with three small children and a trolley of suitcases.
If you hire cars often or just want to avoid the queues at the rental desks, I’d highly recommend it!
Car Rental Return and Refuelling
Arriving back at Amsterdam Schiphol, the car rental return is well signed from the A4 motorway. Just be careful as you’re approaching the car parks as a new road layout there can be a little confusing.
If you’re heading to Schiphol from the South, there’s a Shell petrol (gas) station just 8km from the airport if your rental company requires you to return the car with a full tank. From the East, on the A9, there’s one just 9km before you reach the airport. Alternatively there’s a Total less than 1km from the rental return location but going there requires just a small diversion.