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Identifying Aircraft Passenger Postures and Factors Influencing Body Part Discomfort

Sharafkhani, Mahnaz; Argyle, Elizabeth; Cobb, Sue; Tennent, Paul; Houghton, Robert


Mahnaz Sharafkhani

Elizabeth Argyle

Sue Cobb

Paul Tennent

Robert Houghton


Aircraft passengers’ physical activity levels are often limited during flight for extended periods of time, which can have serious impact on health, comfort, and passenger experience. Passengers are generally advised to walk around the plane and do certain exercises, especially in mid- to long-haul flights, to increase blood flow and reduce discomfort. However, several factors, such as limited personal space and social factors, can make doing these exercises difficult.
In this paper, we introduce sources of discomfort that passengers face in medium to long-haul flights as iden-tified during a simulated flight study. Participant behaviour and postures identified in the study as contributing to participants’ reports of discomfort and pain will be described. Twenty-nine participants sat in an aircraft simulated cabin for 180 minutes and periodically performed in-seat exercises. During the trial, they completed a questionnaire every twenty minutes. The questionnaire collected data on demographic information, self-reported discomfort scores for multiple areas of the body, which types of exercises participants performed, and qualitative comments about discomfort. Participants were photographed and video recorded in order to evaluate their postures, movement direction, and other behavioural and physical sources of discomfort. A body mapping analysis was used to identify which parts of the body experienced discomfort in terms of fre-quency and severity. Body part areas identified as receiving highest scores of discomfort ratings were: back of the neck, back-left shoulder, back-right shoulder, back-left buttock, and back lower back. This work will be used to understand the design of immersive technology intervention for encouraging passengers to engage in physical activity during flights.

Start Date Aug 29, 2019
APA6 Citation Sharafkhani, M., Argyle, E., Cobb, S., Tennent, P., & Houghton, R. (in press). Identifying Aircraft Passenger Postures and Factors Influencing Body Part Discomfort
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