New poll question: is it appropriate to use the flight attendant call button for service?

I’m making an effort to change the poll question at the top right of the blog a bit more often, so it’s time for a new one. The last poll question was about the reason you primarily travel. The results were as follows:

The results were similar to what I expected, perhaps skewed a bit towards the leisure side. 59% of you travel primarily for leisure, 18% just for work, and 23% have your travel split 50/50. I’m not surprised by how low the “exclusively work” number is, since ultimately if you only travel for work and don’t actually enjoy it, chances are you wouldn’t spend your free time reading a travel blog.

Anyway, you can find the next poll question on the top right of the blog, and it’s regarding whether or not it’s appropriate to use the flight attendant call button for service, which seems to be a hot button issue for many (no pun intended). I suspect the selection will vary greatly depending on which airlines people are used to flying.

Thanks for participating!

Filed Under: Travel
  1. Of course it’s okay to use the flight attendant call button. That’s what it’s there for. I know a lot of FAs (on US airlines especially) find it bothersome when people use the call button, but it’s part of their job to help people when they press it.

  2. It depends on the situation. If I just wanted a glass of water or something, I’ll almost always get up and ask for it myself. But, if I just have some sort of question that they’ll be able to answer for me (seat operation, etc.) that won’t require them to make two trips, I’ll ring my call button.

  3. I thought it was always appropriate, just not very effective, since Delta and Delta Connection FAs often ignore it. There are some good attentive FAs, but I find if the FA is offering bad or slow service, it may not be very effective. If the cart etc. is not in the way, I’ll just get up and fetch it myself, but plenty of times the seat belt light is on, carts blocking, and so on…you have no choice but to press the button and pray.

  4. Given the fact that many American pilots leave the seatbelt sign on for…oh…. about 90% of the time then it’s absolutely acceptable to use the FA call button.

  5. It’s always appropriate unless you’re a serial abuser. Otherwise, you’re only going to use it when you really need to, when you’re jammed into a window seat (which I always prefer for the view), when you’re disabled, or when you’re in first class and entitled to do so at any time. FAs that fail to respond should be written up. Come to think of it, I would demand compensation from the airline if I had a serious need and the FA did not answer. Luckily, FAs do respond most of the time on United, in my experience.

  6. Isn’t that the intended purpose? Granted, some FAs either take their time responding, or take their time following up on the request (if at all), but it is absolutely appropriate. In fact, I just used it last week when the extremely apologetic FA somehow skipped over me during meal service (I suspect she got mixed up because the girl next to me didn’t want a meal).

  7. Why are the features like call buttons on a plane if it’s inappropriate to use them? While one should never take advantage, it’s perfectly appropriate to call a flight attendant and kindly ask for their assistance if you need it.

  8. The call button is there for ‘sport’. On Asian carriers, the FA will come running as soon as the button is rung. On domestic carriers, the call button is there to provide… wait for it… inflight entertainment (music).

  9. of course ! that is what they are there for both the buttons and FA’s. God forbid you ask them for something right?

  10. It’s appropriate to use only when the FA has overlooked something. Back years ago when there were still meals served inflight for free, our row was somehow skipped.

    Waited a few minutes to see if they were coming back. Rang the bell. FA came in a few minutes, looked at our meal less row, then the other rows in front and behind us with a slightly puzzled look, then with food.

  11. Hell yes. From the stories I read, flight attendants on certain carriers have been allowed to get so far up themselves they are not visible anymore…

    FAs are not ‘flight security officers’, but rather the face of the airline to their customers. Their job is to make sure passengers are comfortable and happy, and to help them with reasonable requests šŸ™‚

  12. I think this poll needs more possible answers. The appropriateness probably depends on the situation. Ordering a drink from an aisle coach seat just across from the galley may be a different level of appropriateness than calling for help with a serious hardware malfunction in a premium cabin.

    As for me I rarely call for help unless I’m prevented from moving by an overused seat belt sign. I always feel odd pushing the button and that’s certainly not by accident. If you’re in coach the flight attendants of most airlines definitely give off the vibe that pushing the attendant call button is not something they’re expecting you to do.

    Yes, flight attendants on some Asian airlines will jump up to see what the problem is, but even the much touted SQ staff will sometimes give a look resembling amused disbelief that a coach passenger felt important enough to summon their exclusive attention. I can scarcely imagine what happens when you push the button on newer all-coach Asian airlines like AK. Should be interesting to get a field report on that.

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