INTERVIEW – How 65% of AHL files are created at the kiosk at Billund airport?

kiosk passenger

Billund Airport has been using BagAssist since 2011 and kiosk-AHLreport since early 2012. In September 2014, Steffen Eriksen, duty manager at Billund Airport explained us how 50% of their AHL files were created by passengers themselves using the kiosk.

Two years later, this ratio has increased to an average of 63,5 % over the past six months;  this ratio being above 65% for several months in a row. Steffen gently took the time to share with us his best practices on the kiosk usage.

kiosk Sky Assist


Steffen, our last interview dates from September 2014 where the number of files created at the kiosk was already very high. What happened since then at Billund Airport? We are curious to know about your magic recipe!

Actually the method I use is the same as back in 2012.

Every day that I’m here at the airport, I make sure to follow-up with my agents and to see if everything is going well at the kiosks. I motivate them and give them objectives such as “Today we’ll only use the kiosk to create AHL files”.

I also insist on how the kiosk helps giving a good experience to the passengers. Ok, having your bag delayed is never a good experience; but if your bag is missing and you have to queue 20 minutes to declare it, then it becomes a horrible experience! Thanks to the kiosk, we offer a good service to our passengers.

And of course, a little party always help to motivate the troops! Our last party was a few months ago when we broke the 60% record.


How are the kiosks installed at Billund Airport?

Our two kiosks are on the way between the baggage belt and the counter. It is important that the kiosks are well placed so that they cannot be missed. We always have one agent next to the kiosks to invite the passengers to use the kiosks and assist them in case of questions.

The passengers really need to talk to somebody to express their annoyance and tell us what idiots we are to have lost their suitcase (even though it is not our fault!).

In support, we also have one agent at the counter for complex cases or for the airlines who do not want their passengers to use the kiosk.

kiosk Sky Assist


What do your agents like / dislike about the kiosk?

Not all agents feel the same about the kiosk. Some like it more than others.

What they fear the most is to be physically close to the passengers. With BagAssist, they are “protected” by the counter. With the kiosk, they are standing up next to (sometimes angry) passengers. I thought the best way to solve this, is to go to the kiosk myself and help passengers to show my team that I am comfortable doing what I am asking them to do.

Also, the kiosk was a good opportunity to foster the team spirit. Agents have now understood that the kiosk benefits them too. When one of them is helping two passengers at the kiosk at the same time, then their colleagues are free to work on other tasks such as picking up the phone or do BDO’s. Since they are more productive, they know that maybe at the end of the day the work will be finished earlier and that they’ll have 10 minutes to chit chat. Of course the incentives we have put in place also helped with the kiosk adoption.


What is your personal opinion of the kiosk as Duty Manager after having used the application for 4 years now?

Personally I’m totally convinced by the kiosk. I think my enthusiasm for the product is one of the reasons why we have managed to reach this high number of files created at the kiosk. Since I like the application, it is easier to convince my team of its benefits.

Over the past 4 years, we have been handling more and more airlines, therefore more and more bags, thanks to the kiosk and other initiatives, our team always count 12 agents. The kiosk definitely helped to increase our productivity.


What is the feedback from passengers about the kiosk?

Passengers say that it is easy to use the kiosk and report their delayed bag by themselves. Business people and younger passengers are very comfortable with the application whereas people who are travelling only once a year might need a bit more help. Over the past few years, passengers are more and more comfortable with the tool and in 2 or 3 years we might not need an agent anymore, as for the check-in.


From our passengers, we generally get two questions:

  1. “How do I do to scan my boarding pass / bag receipt?” For this, we are actually thinking about doing a little video to show how this work; similar to what is shown before the security screening where passengers are informed of the security process.
  2. “When will I get my bag delivered?” After the AHL has been created, the kiosk application displays the file reference and FWD information (if any available). With this FWD information, the agent standing next to the kiosk can tell the passenger that he/she will receive the bag in x hours. In most of the cases, there are FWD matches, so the agent always has an answer to provide to the passengers who feel reassured.

Passengers really like the summary screen where they can review and if needed correct all the information they have entered. They are sure that the data are well saved in the system, which is not the case when an agent does the declaration for them. The kiosk gives them more control which they appreciate.

And we noticed that passengers don’t take much longer than an agent to create an AHL so there is no to little queue in front of the kiosks.

kiosk Sky Assist


You told me you are planning to have a 3rd kiosk installed in your arrival hall?

Indeed, in one month we will have a third kiosk installed in our arrival hall. The check-in kiosks are being replaced by newer models so one of the “old” check-in kiosk will be moved to the arrival area. This will be an IER 918 kiosk, the same model as the one we are currently using, so it is perfect. Then we will have one agent assisting three passengers at the same time.


With this 3rd kiosk, do you think the percentage of AHL files created at the kiosk will keep increasing?

Yes, I do. My target is then 75% of the AHL files created by the passengers.

I don’t think we will be able to reach a higher number as several of the airlines we handle, mostly low-cost airlines, do not want their passengers to use the kiosk. These airlines are afraid that there will be more fraud via the kiosk. They believe that passengers will create AHL for bags that were given to them. Since we have started using the kiosk in 2012, we never had such a case so in my opinion this is not a valid argument.

If all of our handled airlines would agree to use the kiosks, then I think we could read 90 to 95% of the AHL files created by passengers. There will always be a small percentage of cases for which the file should be created in BagAssist (passengers who have been rebooked, cancelled flights…)


Do you have other coming projects around the kiosk?

Yes, actually after the summer we would like you at Sky Assist to implement our customs report in the kiosk application. Nowadays passengers spend more time filling in the customs declaration manually than declaring their delayed bag(s) at the kiosk. So we would like the kiosk application to automatically generate a customs report filled in with the data already entered to create the AHL.

As for mid-term project, a new section of the airport should open (in more or less 2 years). We are planning to also have a kiosk in this new arrival hall.


Have you already thought of using the e-AHLreport application for passengers to report their delayed bag online at home, at the office or at the hotel?

We did and regularly airlines ask us about this, but this is not possible to use such an application in Denmark. Customs authorities request passenger to fill in the customs report at the airport; else the bag cannot be delivered and the passenger should come pick it up.


Do you have any insider tips or advices you would like to share with the supervisors of the BagAssist community who want to increase the usage of kiosk in their stations?

Billund is no exception. The first year we had the kiosks, we also had only 8 to 10% of the AHL files created at the kiosk. 4 years later, this ratio has been increased to 60% thanks to the initiatives we as supervisor put in place. I believe similar initiatives can be applied in other airports to achieve similar results. One key to success is for each supervisor to deeply believe that he can change the mentality of his team.