Effect of scent on comfort of aircraft passengers

Xinhe Yao*, Yu Song, Peter Vink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
35 Downloads (Pure)


BACKGROUND: Scents may influence the perceived comfort of an environment. There are only a few studies conducted on the relationship between scent and comfort in aircraft cabin. OBJECTIVES: The goal of this research is to explore whether relationships between scents and perceived comfort can be found for passengers in an aircraft cabin. METHODS: 276 participants joined an experiment in a Boeing 737 fuselage. The participants were divided into nine groups and each joined a session for 60 minutes with the exposure to different scents. The effect of the odor was measured by a set of questionnaires at the beginning and at the end of the session. Results of questionnaires were analyzed regarding the effects on the completion time, of the type of scents, of the intensity of the scent and on gender. RESULTS: Significant differences were found at the beginning and at the end of the experiment regarding comfort and emotion, but sometimes no relations could be established. The influence of different scents on comfort/discomfort varied and changed over time. However, in all scenarios, participant' scores on emotion decreased. Additionally, the added scents influenced the linearity between the changes in comfort and discomfort. CONCLUSIONS: Smell could influence the perceived comfort/discomfort of aircraft passengers over time, and different types of smells have different effects on passengers. The preferences on scents are diverse, which highlights the need for personalization in aircraft cabin design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S273-S280
Issue numbers1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • aircraft cabin environment
  • comfort
  • discomfort
  • emotion
  • Smell


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