Cheap flights allow for prostitution at Amsterdam airport

A large number of budget flights from Eastern Europe and other parts of the world to the Netherlands has created a ring of prostitution at Amsterdam airport, giving a new meaning to the word layover. Prostitutes are flying into

Schiphol Airport and using the hotels in the international transit area to meet with clients without going through customs, often making a hefty profit even after “commuting” on cheap flights into Amsterdam.

Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands, and though what is happening in the airport is unregulated and thus technically illegal, Dutch police have no plans to stop it unless they receive specific complaints. The Amsterdam Prostitutes Association is also fine with the ad hoc red-light district as long as the women are doing it on their own accord and there is no human trafficking.

Flying through Amsterdam but not interested in the sex trade? Check out our guide to layovers at Schiphol Airport.

Hat tip to for the story. Photo courtesy Flickr user algenta101.

New amenities for Amsterdam Airport Schiphol: Wi-Fi and golf!

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has been considered one of the best airports in the world for as long as I can remember – even when I flew in and out of it every week back in early 80’s, Schiphol had some of the best airport shopping of any airport.

In recent years, the airport added a casino, loads of new restaurants, a spa, shower facilities, 2 hotels and a museum.

And now two more amenities can be added to that long list; free Wi-Fi and a golf course. Wi-Fi arrived at Schiphol almost ten years ago, but was always a paid service. Now, users can connect to the “KPN” Wi-Fi network located througout the entire airport, landside and airside. The only downside? Access is only free for one hour. After that, you’ll need to purchase more airtime. When on paid access, you can also print for free, and collect your documents at one of the KPN Internet Centers at the airport.

The golf course is located away from the main terminal, towards the north. When completed in 2012, it’ll be a full 18 hole course with a driving range and club house. No word yet whether you’ll be able to use the course during a layover at Schiphol, but knowing how smart the airport operator is, it wouldn’t surprise me if shuttles are provided.

If only U.S. airports paid attention to their international cousins to see how a real airport should look. Schiphol gets a golf course – and we need to settle for a Sbarro. Sigh.

[Photo from Flickr/on1site]

Check out this list of five airline amentities making a comeback

Pilot with fake license flew commercial planes for 13 years – until he was caught

A successful 13 year career came to an end today, when Dutch police pulled a 41-year-old pilot from his plane. The pilot was minutes away from departing for Ankara, Turkey on his Corendon airlines flight.

The cops were acting on a tip from Swedish authorities, who discovered that the man was not in possession of a pilots license valid for commercial planes.

He did have a basic license for private planes, but he had falsified his credentials 13 years ago, and had been flying commercial planes ever since.

With over 10,000 hours in the cockpit, the pilot had obviously tricked authorities very well – and 10,000 hours without any safety incidents also means he must have known what he was doing up front.

Thankfully, Corendon airlines had been alerted to the upcoming arrest, and had already arranged for a replacement pilot to take his seat. A lawyer for the airline said the fake pilot would never fly for them again.

Oddly enough, this was the second time he had been caught – Swedish cops arrested him several years ago for the same reason, but when they summoned him, he couldn’t be found, so they just “forgot” about it.

The Netherlands to start full body scans of all US bound passengers

The Dutch government held a press conference this morning announcing their plans to beef up security at Amsterdam Schiphol airport.

Within three weeks, fifteen bodyscan machines will be in place (sources say the machines are the Rapiscan Secure 1000 scanners), and a 100% screening of all US bound passengers may help prevent a repeat of the Northwest Airlines incident.

See – THIS is how you tackle security. Something happens, and within 3 weeks, you implement the technology required to prevent it from happening again. I’m not a big fan of the bodyscanners, but given how the terrorists are operating, I don’t see any other solution, short of asking people to fly naked.

Government officials made it clear that only one person will be able to view the scanner screen at a time, and that images can not be stored. The initial implementation requires border protection police staff to view the screens, but the next version will be fully automated, and a computer will determine whether any items are on your body that require closer scrutiny.

Of course, the Dutch privacy groups are very much against the scanners. My biggest concern is that images of naked children leak out, and make their way into the hands of pedophile groups. If governments are indeed going to start an accelerated roll out of these scanners, they’d better be 100% sure they protect our privacy – if they screw this up (and chances are, they will), the backlash will be fierce.

Dutch airport hotel for goldfish the newest victim of the recession

Seriously, is nothing safe from the grasps of the crappy economy?

Even the goldfish hotel we wrote about back in June barely lasted 4 weeks before closing the lid of its tank.

Closing the “hotel” wasn’t too hard, because when its end came, there were no guests checked in, and no reservations lined up.

Of course, because the whole concept was sponsored by a travel agency, it is perfectly possible that the opening and subsequent closing were all one big PR stunt, but sources confirm that the hotel was real, and that several people actually arrived at Schiphol airport with a goldfish ready to be checked in for a week.

Still, I think 4 weeks is a record for the launch and failure of a hotel, even if it was only open to fish. Then again, in an era where pets get their own airline or hotel and dogs have sex toys, not much surprises me.