The pitch and width of airline seats are crucial factors on the comfort of passengers. The aim of this study is to measure the comfort feeling of passengers regarding different widths and together with data from a previous study, to offer suggestions on the aircraft interior design. 311 participants were recruited and were asked to sit in 17-inch-wide and 18-inch-wide aircraft seats in a Boeing 737 fuselage for 10 min, respectively. Questionnaires on psychological comfort and overall discomfort, as well as an additional questionnaire on the discomfort of different body parts, were used to evaluate the comfort and discomfort experience of participants. Experiment results indicated that the comfort scores were significantly higher, and the discomfort scores were significantly lower for sitting in the 18-inch-wide seats than that of sitting in the 17-inch-wide seats. It was also found that rather than the buttock, the shoulders, knees, lower legs and feet contributed significantly to the reduction in overall discomfort by providing more space for movements. Regarding anthropometric measurements, participants with smaller hip-breadth felt more comfort while sitting the 18-inch-wide seat, which highlights the importance of the freedom of movement. By synthesizing the results of a previous study on the relations of the seat pitch and comfort, it was found that given the same amount of additional floor area, widening the seat is more effective on comfort than increasing the pitch. Relevance to industry: This discovery might be useful for the airline industry for a more effective and efficient usage of floor area.
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