The button that beckons the flight attendants wields a lot of power. It can be your savior in moments of real emergency like when you’re feeling nauseous or otherwise ill at 35,000 feet. But what if it’s not an emergency – or if you’re not 100% clear on whether it’s warranted. Just when should you dare press it? We’re here to offer a little advice – ready or not. Here’s the CheapAir guide to the flight attendant call button – when you should and should not press it.
Flight attendants are not at your beck and call
Let’s begin with a cardinal rule: pressing the call button isn’t like flagging down a server at your favorite restaurant or summoning a genie from a lamp. It’s not there for your every whim. Flight attendants are there first and foremost to keep passengers safe. Don’t call them for extra ice.
Here’s a scenario: your seatmate has a sudden craving for a Diet Coke, and before you know what happened, they’ve pressed their button. Seriously, folks, this isn’t a drive-thru.
And don’t be sneaky about it either. “Oops, my elbow slipped!” Sure, it did. That’s like accidentally sending a text to your ex at 2 in the morning. There are no accidents.
Emergencies are always an acceptable reason to push your button
Let’s talk emergencies for a minute. If you’re hyperventilating, having a panic attack, see another passenger trying to open an emergency exit, by all means, press the button. But remember – if it’s a minor inconvenience like running out of your preferred beverage, don’t hit the panic button.
Use the button sparingly
There are some passengers who compete for the record of most button presses per flight. Beep! “Excuse me, can I get a blanket?” Beep! “Oh, forgot to ask for headphones!” Beep! “Do you have the time?” There’s a very thin line between asking for essentials and treating the call button like your personal concierge.
Call button etiquette
Now, let’s dip into the complicated waters of etiquette. Is it okay to press the button during meal service? No. If it’s not an emergency, wait your turn.
Here’s a contentious one: reclining your seat. Some consider it a declaration of war, while others see it as their constitutional right. Should the person behind you get to press the button to express their displeasure? Plenty of people call a flight attendant to complain about the person in front of them who’s reclining. But it does put the flight attendant in a tough spot. Save this one for times when the other passenger isn’t compromising with you.
Safety concerns are a valid reason to press that button
Now let’s flip the switch. The call button isn’t just for passenger requests. Flight attendants encourage its use if you spot something suspicious. You don’t want to be the person who said, “I thought I smelled fire, but I didn’t want to bother anyone.” Bother away if you have valid concerns—safety first! If you see something, say something!
Can parents of small kids use that button to get relief?
No! The call button is not a “Can you entertain my child for the next three hours?” button. By the same token, if your little bundle of joy just vomited all over you and the aisle – that’s an excellent reason to push that button.
Let’s wrap this up with some common sense. The call button is there for assistance, not entertainment. Flight attendants can’t perform miracles at 30,000 feet.
The call button issue is delicate. There’s no definitive answer to when you should press it. It’s definitely a gray area of airborne etiquette. But one thing’s for sure: a little humor and consideration can make the journey smoother for everyone involved.