Ding… who uses the call button on-board?

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This topic contains 35 replies, has 19 voices, and was last updated by  hueyjudy 5 Nov 2016
at 23:29

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  • theavidtraveller


    I was having an interesting discussion with my friends the other with respect to the call button on flights.

    Do people use it? Do you feel comfortable using it? Does it differ depending on what airline, class of travel or culture you’re from?

    Personally, I very rarely use it but on the odd occasions I have (Etihad J) it got ignored (twice). On Cathay Pacific (J) they were a lot more responsive when I had to use it.

    What are your thoughts?


    On AA they almost never come. I think it puts a cloud over your seat and they do their best to ignore you for the rest of the flight.

    BA in F someone smiling appears fairly fast, also in Club.

    I think it depends on the staff too, sometimes good crew are very happy to come to your seat, at tother times it seems like you have distracted them from something very important.


    \Half the time I use it I’ve pushed it by accident-:-) It’s always answered when that happens!


    I’ve used it occasionally. I’m certainly not shy about using it if I need/ want something and it’s always been answered rapidly. Shortly after take off I once had a bad nosebleed on a packed full economy flight in Europe with TAP. The two ladies next to me were glaring at me as if frightened my blood would contaminate them. I pressed the call button for a cold damp cloth and some tissues and the hostess asked me to sit in Business which was almost empty while she looked after me.

    It soon stopped and then she said I’d better stay in business in case it happens again and I got the full treatment with meals etc. She even went back to retrieve my carry on and put it above me. Great and kind service.

    Cue now people punching their nose to get upgraded;-)


    In economy, I’ll use the bell with discretion and infrequently, e.g. not in the middle of a service run and not be demanding. EK and EY seem to prefer you to call than turn up in the galley and are pretty good at answering.

    In business, I’ll use it as often as I need to, since the fare is typically 4-5 times more and I expect the service. If the bell isn’t answered in business (happened this morning on TK, missed 3 times and answered 10 mins later on the 4th attempt, I will ask to speak to the senior cabin crew member and ask why – it usually means it is answered quickly thereafter.

    As cabin crew say, when the bell goes off, it could be a ‘coke or a stroke’ (or a bad nosebleed) – it should be answered within a minute or less.

    1 user thanked author for this post.


    As Cabin Crew, my pet hate is Crew that do not answer call bells or if they do, don’t get them cancelled.

    As Pursers / CSL , we are asked for a small input each briefing. One of the things I always include is “Please not only answer call bells promptly, but also cancel them ” I have most probably given my identity away now to some of the other Crew on here 🙂

    There is an indicator at the door by the galley , when the call bell goes off and if 1 or 100 go off, we only have one indiction on the side of the aircraft it is pressed in that cabin (it doesn’t tell you the number of seats). If it is not cancelled, we do not then know if anyone else has rang. There is a ding, but with all that is going on , we may not hear, so the light is important. Certain aircraft, we also have a screen, we can log into and look at, but generally, see the light at the door and look down the cabin.

    Sometimes we have a light indicator go on and then can’t see it in the cabin, which means the bulb has gone at the seat. If so, I mark in the Tech log for the engineers to sort on the ground. I also have a wander through to see if I can find who it is. As most probably 50% of call bell presses are accidents, you often can’t find it to switch it off, so I then do a reset from the CSD office.

    If you are a passenger, and press the call light, worth having a quick look up to see if the light is illuminated above you.

    If you use it, then please cancel, as if you have not got a vigilant Crew, they may not answer if you ring again, as they will just see it left on from last time.

    You never know when it will be an emergency, so for me it is a very important part of my responsibility.

    5 users thanked author for this post.


    I use it sometimes in J (or F – a rare day for me), as I feel entitled to some personal service there, although just as often I’ll go and get something myself, to stretch my legs. But it would have to be a real emergency (or me unable to walk) for me to use it in Y, because I feel that flight attendants have so much to do Y, and also feel I haven’t paid for that level of service in Y.


    Rarely used it in Y, occasionally in J, never flown F but if I did I suspect it would be permanently pressed 😉


    MrMichael, you said “….never flown F but if I did I suspect it would be permanently pressed”, too right and that’s the attitude: I’m always over-polite in J and even in F, saying to flight attendants e.g. “Errr I very sorry but do you think you could possibly bring me a glass of water if it’s not too much trouble?” Great to be polite of course, that’s not what I mean, but I should relax more and enjoy it…


    Regard the buzzer for emergencies only, or used to help others, and find most crew can be alerted to other requirements when they pass, by eye movement if they’re good like CX, or hand signal. Do l really ever need anything in a hurry especially on long haul? Accidental use sometimes usually at night when I don’t see the airvent & am surprised when they arrive!


    Rarely used it in Y, occasionally in J, never flown F but if I did I suspect it would be permanently pressed ?

    In a well managed F cabin, one should never need to think about using the call button, never mind have to press it.


    I rarely push it, and as fellow contributors have already commented depends on circumstance

    Never ever, when the crew are carrying out set routines.
    Never ever when I have an attentive crew.

    I actually prefer exercising airline advice and walk to the back galley and engage with a human being..

    Times I have dinged ….
    During mild turbulence and seat belt sign on
    Short flight and stuck in window or worse middle seat — and importantly, I’m sharing a flight with Penn and Teller who’ve waved their stick and made them disappear behind the magic curtain.
    Helping a fellow passenger, normally inexperienced or nervous flyer.

    Personally I believe that if you have a great customer orientated crew the dinger is pretty much redundant. Sadly, you can’t guarantee that,these days.

    1 user thanked author for this post.


    Shame of using it? No. But it is usually the second option. I first try to have a visual contact with one of the crew members. Once pressed, the answer varies a lot… In economy, little chances to get anything. Plus with these cramped seats now, too often it is pressed by accident. In business, the odds are higher. But, yes, it depends on the airline. In First, it has to be fast, as we should not have to press that button there!


    What a GREAT story! Another shining example of the powers of charm … I never use the call button, but I always sit on the bulkhead in an aisle seat, so I just hop and go ask for what I want. My theory is that the more reasons one has to get up and move on a flight, the better one feels.

    We just had a poster on our advocates forum who was bitterly complaining about the treatment he received in biz on Turkish Airlines. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that if he rang that call button 3 times in an hour he became invisible to the crew.


    I will always use if necessary except during service times when it’s easier to ask a passing member of crew. The exception is on BA 747 in first when the cabin is dimmed at night, as then there is no regular throughput in the cabin. But as another poster has noted it’s always good to get up to go to the galley as exercise when need be.

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