Passengers with Disabilities, Elderly and Obese in Brazilian Air Transportation: Contradictions in the Activity Systems

  • Talita Naiara Rossi da SilvaEmail author
  • Jerusa Barbosa Guarda de Souza
  • João Alberto Camarotto
  • Nilton Luiz Menegon
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 824)


The objective of this study was to understand the contradictions in the activity systems of passengers with disabilities, the elderly and obese in the Brazilian air transportation, which originate participation restrictions when boarding, during the flight and in the deplaning process of air travel. A qualitative approach was adopted based on Ergonomics and the Activity Theory. The research participants were passengers with physical, visual, and auditory disabilities and elderly and obese passengers. The data collection included 14 preliminary interviews in rehabilitation organizations and assistance services for the participant groups, with a total of 25 participants; a questionnaire-based survey involving 399 respondents; and observations in commercial aviation. A total of 43 non-participant observations were carried out, and eight other participant observations took place during the air travel, which included two self-confrontation interviews. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and thematic content analysis. The results indicated passenger participation restrictions during the flight that are related to airport infrastructure, airport signs, operational factors, equipment, aircrafts, and regulatory aspects. These restrictions are related to contradictions in the interaction of the components of the activity system, which include: the passenger, the artifacts, the rules, the community (passengers and workers), airport operators, the airlines and the object of the activity. To promote full participation during the air travel, some changes are needed; primarily the transformation of significance and representations in terms of action of those involved in air transportation and their work activity, seeking to achieve integration between design and use.


Air transport Ergonomics Activity Passengers with disabilities Elderly passengers Obese passengers 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Embraer S/ASão José dos CamposBrazil
  3. 3.Federal University of São CarlosSão CarlosBrazil

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