Ranking of human senses that contribute to passengers’ aircraft interior comfort experience

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


There are many factors influencing passengers’ comfort, such as expectations and environment.
When experiencing comfort, the different human senses all play a role. According to Bubb (2008) [1], six factors
determine discomfort: Smell, Light, Vibrations, Sound, Climate and Anthropometry. Bubb [1] presented
these factors in a discomfort pyramid, with Smell as most important factor and Anthropometry as least important.
The goal of this study is to investigate whether the expectations of aircraft passengers are comparable
to the hierarchy of the human senses as proposed by Bubb’s discomfort pyramid [1]. A survey has been conducted
among aircraft passengers (respondents with flight experience in the last year). In total 183 respondents
between 19 and 64 years old (mean: 30.5, SD: 12.8) were asked to rank six different factors: Smell,
Light, Vibrations, Sound, Climate and Anthropometry. These factors were presented to the respondents as 15
different pairs (e.g. Smell-Sound), and respondents were asked to indicate for each pair, which is most important
according to them in order to experience comfort. The results of this study suggest that the expectations
of aircraft passengers differ from the hierarchy of senses suggested by Bubb [1]. In this study, respondents
indicated ‘anthropometry’ as most important, whereas this was the least important factor according to
Bubb [1]. The other factors, in reducing order of importance according to the respondents of this study, were
‘noise, smell and climate’, ‘vibration’ and, lastly, ‘light’. However, according to the remarks made by the participants,
some factors could be interpreted in different ways. For example, climate does not only refer to
temperature, but also to humidity and atmospheric pressure. Therefore, these factors and their influence on
comfort and discomfort experience should be studied in more detail.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of 1st International Comfort Congress
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event1st International Comfort Congress - Salerno, Italy
Duration: 7 Jun 20178 Jun 2017


Conference1st International Comfort Congress


  • comfort
  • expectations
  • human senses

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