Matthias Ritschl

Operator Desk
DALI Switch
Power Tool
Check-In Counter
AR Goggles
HCI Interface

B/F Industrial Design


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SAS Self Check In Counter

Check-In Counter



The SAS Zone is a self check-in counter for domestic airports in Sweden.
But it's more than that. It's an interface between SAS and its customers.

Besides the obligatory Check-In procedure the bar like arrangement supports the interaction of passengers and personnel, shows the existing "service" and communicates company brand values.

The "SAS Zone" is in fact all about how SAS and its service is experienced by the customer.
It's about communication.

TASK - Design for User Experience

The project “The Air traveler” had a strong focus on “User centered Design”.
The task was to analyze the current situation, interview customers and personnel in order to come up with a project.

“[...] solving problems as well as offering new experiences, social interaction patterns, dreams and values. [...] both the passenger and the airport workers. [...] giving a little joy every time we use them.”   Pete Avondoglio

Luleå Airport

The first part of the project took us 45 Swedish miles (equals 450 km) to the domestic airport of Luleå in northern Sweden.
There we interviewed customers and personnel and gathered a lot of first hand information about domestic airports, procedures, developments, problems, service, plane sizes, routes and security issues. This was extremely interesting and had a major impact on my project.

Back from Luleå we spent almost a week in seminar rooms on ideation work.
There I realized that the communication between SAS and their passengers was the biggest issue for me. So I decided to work on an SAS-CUSTOMER interface.

Problem Description

SAS is part of the scandinavian heritage and has been associated with attributes like safety, quality and high service standards.
The business however has changed dramatically and SAS is currently losing reputation and customers.

The main reasons for disappointed SAS customers seemed to be unfulfilled expectations. Generated mostly by the obvious gap between communicated company values and daily reality.

The interesting thing though is that, based on what we’ve experienced, SAS still has a lot of service to offer.
Customers, however, really have a hard time "seeing" why they should fly with the “quality” airline.

Marketing Concept

In the aviation business today “service” almost seems like an unaffordable luxury.
Strangely enough SAS can't benefit from offering more services than many other airlines.

My goal was therefore to show the existing services without great financial expenses. To communicate the values and services better than they do now.

In order to do so i decided to introduce a better CUSTOMER - SAS interface.

Design Concepts

With the marketing approach in mind I developed and evaluated 4 different concepts.

Concepts A and B were more or less architectural approaches. A separate SAS pavilion or a special entrance seem like a good idea in order to create a lounge like feeling and to distance SAS from competitors and cramped airports.
Concepts C and D on the other hand were more typical design solutions. Bar like arrangements creating a focus point in the airport.

CONCEPT A - SAS Pavilion
CONCEPT B - City Airport Terminal
CONCEPT C - Check-In Robot (AGV)
CONCEPT D - Check-In Counter

After a long evaluation period I decided on CONCEPT D since it was by far the most promising, feasible and appropriate one for small Swedish airports.


Throughout the whole project I was extremely inspired by art, architecture, concept stores and
Scandinavian design.
I believe that many of those influences can be seen in the sketches as well as in the final result.

Customer - Airline Interaction

A major issue was the interaction of the personnel and the customer. It became clear that the visual presence and availability of personnel is critical for the feeling of "service".

In the new bar-like arrangement, the customer
and the personnel are facing each other.
The customer can therefore see the “presence” of the airline. Help is at hand and stress reduced if the customer struggles.

The counter however, clearly separates public from non public areas.

Shape Development

The shape development started on paper creating possible variations of one modular segment.
As you can see in #8 and #11 the area where the passenger would touch the counter influenced the design right from the start.

Digital Shape Refinement

The next step was partly done in CAD and partly by sketching on top of underlay prints. This was important in order to get an idea what an ensemble would look like and in order to work on details.

Technical Drawings

The ability to scale the structure according to the size of the airport was very important since almost all of the 32 domestic SAS airports are super small.

In the front view one can see the "lean on" close to the customer screen and a "floating" screen for the crew.

Final Design

The final result is a CUSTUMER - SAS interface.

The SAS Zone is a focus point at the airport that supports interaction of passengers and personnel.
It communicates the existing "service" as well as the company brand values.

Benefit Summary

creates a focus point in the entrance
communicates the brands values
changes the interaction of the personnel and the customer
treats the customer with respect
feels like a lounge but is open to all passengers
reduces stress and increases speed because
help is right in front of you
distances the airline to the airport and other airlines
modular and therefore scale able to different sizes of domestic airports
requires a minimum of space and resources
easy to build, transport, install and maintain


And last but not least the 1:10 model.