AirportOperationsUpgraded With Scandit‑Powered Ground Handling App

Scandinavian Airlines replaced expensive, dedicated scanners used for critical, ground handling operations with a Scandit-powered, smartphone app. This cost-efficient move to a single mobile app for scanning passports, boarding passes, luggage tags and meal vouchers improved the customer and employee experience.

Mobile devices serve our digital strategy to create more efficient processes. Our operating staff deliver superior customer service by scanning boarding passes, passports, luggage packages, and coupons with Scandit-powered mobile devices instead of traditional scanner devices.

Sören Fredriksson, IT Project Manager, SAS.

Challenge

Upgrade critical ground handling operations

SAS (Scandinavian Airlines) is Scandinavia’s leading airline, carrying over 30 million passengers on 170 aircrafts annually, with 125 destinations in Europe, US and Asia. As a pioneering digital innovator, SAS’s digital infrastructure strategy involved streamlining operations, giving customers a better traveling experience and maintaining profitability.

SAS partnered with Stockholm-based software developer Objective Solutions, to replace expensive built-in scanners with a newly created ground handling app on mobile smart devices, for tasks like boarding pass scanning and baggage tracking. Achieving the necessary efficiencies and cost savings relied on:

  • Fast, accurate, reliable scanning software to support different barcode symbologies and text found on passports, boarding passes and baggage tags.
  • Easy integration with existing IT infrastructure and complex IT ecosystem of airline partners and up to 20,000 third party agents.

After testing scanning options, including open source software, SAS found Scandit’s barcode scanning and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) was superior. “Scandit delivered best-in-class scan performance,” said Erik Hemberg, App Developer at Objective Solutions. “Open source options were simply not as good.”

Solution

Employee scanning in ground handling app – mobile and web versions

SAS selected the Scandit Barcode Scanner SDK as the scan engine for the ground handling app. They deployed over 700 Samsung Galaxy A8 smartphone devices to customer-facing employees across three airport hubs in Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen. Employees now scan boarding passes and passports using the mobile app anywhere in the airport. The app is also used as an important fall back for boarding during busy times or if airport equipment malfunctions.

Objective Solutions also developed a web scan solution for employees who did not have the mobile app. The web scanning software was tested against Scandit’s Barcode Scanner SDK for the Web, and the results again showed a significant improvement in performance with Scandit. The web solution used by employees to scan within a web or mobile browser on any internet-enabled device, is now powered by Scandit’s SDK for the Web.

We wanted the flexibility to do mobile scanning in the mobile app and from the website, Scandit provided exactly that with SDKs that added high-quality barcode scanning to both platforms and enabled OCR in our mobile app.

Fredrik Buxfeldt, Head of Digital Operations IT, SAS

Easy to integrate and use

Integration with SAS’s mobile ecosystem was simple, as Scandit software works with the Cordova platform. SAS’s development team found Scandit’s documentation invaluable, giving straightforward information about the API.

Employee App Workflow Scandit Product
SAS Ground Handling App – mobile app Boarding pass scanning, Luggage tag scanning, Meal voucher scanning Barcode Scanner SDK
Passport scanning Barcode Scanner SDK with Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
SAS Ground Handling App – web version Luggage tag scanning, Meal voucher scanning Barcode Scanner SDK for the Web

Results

More efficient scanning, reduced costs and improved customer experience

SAS has fewer agents but provides superior customer service with employees using a single mobile app to quickly scan boarding passes, luggage tags, meal vouchers and passports.

  • Customer experience at gates is faster and personalized. No longer confined to gate podiums, agents use a smartphone to check-in and board passengers. SAS has also reduced their airport floor space costs.
  • Booking and seat changes are seamless – the ground handling app integrates with the Amadeus reservation system.
  • Baggage is easily tracked through the airport, anywhere in the airport – baggage handlers easily scan and record status and location.
  • Bag tag scanning is also useful to send oversized hand luggage from the gate to the aircraft.

“Our application is a game changer,” said Erik Hemberg. “Since SAS employees are now able to scan customer barcodes directly on their mobile phones, they can look up bookings, clear warnings through passport scanning, and board passengers on the airplanes.”

Rapid adoption by employees and significant cost savings on scanner:

  • In six months, the number of active Scandit-enabled devices and scans doubled.
  • In three months, employees performed 15 times more scans than the previous three months.
  • SAS made significant cost savings with the lower-cost Samsung devices compared to the old, expensive dedicated scanners.
  • With high performance scanning, employees process tasks more quickly, especially at peak times. Scanning is fast and accurate, even at difficult angles, in bad lighting or when barcodes are damaged.

Expanding to more airports, employees, third party staff and new workflows

Following the success of the ground handling app, SAS are rolling-out Scandit-powered devices globally, including the US. With eyes firmly set on customer satisfaction, they plan to add new workflows to the mobile app, to help employees in clienteling roles access and share real-time information with customers, from anywhere in the airport.

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