What is the cabin crew’s favorite topic?
The call button.
Partly because how it’s used varies wildly. And it depends to a large extent on geography – it ranges from very strict in the West to very liberal in the East.
For example, in the North American market, it is called the “flight attendant emergency call button”, which implies that you should only press it in an emergency. I saw flight attendants answer the call asking what the emergency was.
So in North America my advice is don’t push unless you absolutely need to or want to buy something because the crew doesn’t mind because they get a commission on what you buy.
Former Emirates flight attendant Jay Robert reveals the do’s and don’ts of using the call button
On the other side, in countries like India and Pakistan, they keep pushing. At my old airline, we had call pages even before the plane took off. We would just eliminate them because there would be so many.
In most parts of the world, this button is simply called the call bell, and cabin crew do not tend to object to it being used for service requests, provided they do not not abuse it.
That being said, there are a few tips you should keep in mind to stay on the good side of your flight attendants.
If you’re having a real emergency and need to get the crew’s attention, press that bell and keep pressing it until someone arrives.
It is common for the crew to either ignore them or take a while to react, depending on the size of the aircraft and the number of crews in the cabin. If the bell keeps ringing, we’ll know something’s wrong and we’ll come as soon as possible.
Jay (above) runs the popular Fly Guy’s Cabin Crew Lounge
For service-related inquiries, do not press it during peak hours, such as when boarding.
If you are thirsty and coming from the airport, you could have gotten something at the terminal.
The crew is busy during this time trying to seat and secure the cabin so that you can meet the departure timeslot and arrive at your destination on time.
If you really need something to drink, go to the kitchen and ask.
If the crew is in the cabin doing meal service and you want something, hitting the call button at that time is very annoying because they’re trying to feed up to 600 people at the times, and they’ll be with you soon, so be patient.
Once the little traveler knows he’s making a sound, he likes to press, press and press it. This distracts the crew from performing important tasks.
When you press the bell, ask for everything at once!
Nothing annoys the crew more than ping-pong requests: ask for one thing, and we bring it, and then you ask for something else.
These cabins are long and there are others that need something. Respect the crew’s time and energy.
And don’t ring for stupid requests like a handkerchief to blow your nose. I saw passengers literally meters from the toilet ringing the doorbell asking for a handkerchief.
Parents, on the other hand, should note that this is not a toy and should be careful that their children do not find the button. Once the little traveler knows he’s making a sound, he likes to press, press and press it. It takes the crew’s attention away from important tasks – we might think it’s an emergency.
Finally, remember that sitting for long periods of time is bad for your circulation and your health. If you need anything, it’s best for you and your crew to get up, stretch your legs, and walk to the kitchen to ask for what you need.