Influence of passengers’ anthropometry and tasks on posture and discomfort in an aircraft seat

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientific


Several studies have shown that performing different tasks or activities in work environments causes variations in user postures and movements. Therefore, it is likely that, also for an aircraft seat, different activities need different seat characteristics to accommodate the variety in postures and movements. The research question of this study therefore is: What are the effects of anthropometry on posture in aircraft seats while performing different activities (reading, relaxing and sleeping), and how does this influence the comfort
and discomfort perception of aircraft passengers? In total 28 people (13 female, 15 male) of different nationalities were selected to participate in the research. Their average age was 34 (SD=12.9, range=22-65) years old.
In a laboratory set-up, participants were asked to sit in an aircraft seat and to perform three tasks: reading, watching the in-flight entertainment system (IFE) and sideward sleeping. Three corresponding postures were
prescribed for each of the three tasks: upright sitting and holding a book or magazine (reading); slouched position, relaxing (watching IFE); and turned to the right side of the body (sideward sleeping). If participants indicated
they were sitting comfortably, measurements and pictures were taken and they were asked to complete a questionnaire. Posture was measured by determining the position of participants’ head, torso, upper leg, lower leg, feet, upper arm and forearm with respect to the horizontal plane using stickers. Comfort experience was measured by asking participants to indicate whether they felt comfort or discomfort by marking different areas on a body map with a green (for comfort) and a red pen (for discomfort). Furthermore, anthropometric
measurements were recorded of participants’ stature, body mass (weight), and hip breadth. Results of this study show that passengers of different stature obtain different postures, and that their comfort and discomfort ratings differ. For example, taller participants reported more often discomfort in the head and neck region, while shorter participants more often reported discomfort in the feet and lower legs. Ideally, an aircraft seat facilitates these differences in postures and passengers’ anthropometry.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of 1st International Comfort Congress
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event1st International Comfort Congress - Salerno, Italy
Duration: 7 Jun 20178 Jun 2017


Conference1st International Comfort Congress


  • discomfort
  • sitting
  • passenger comfort
  • activities


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