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Nonemergency calls annoy attendants

By Trip Advisor / tripadvisor.com

LAST UPDATED: 3:22 a.m. HST, May 13, 2012

A few weeks ago I posted a question from a reader who saw another passenger on her flight use the call button three times for nonemergency reasons. I said that sounded a bit excessive to me, but wondered whether flight attendants preferred passengers to press the call button or simply catch them as they walk down the aisles.

Here are some thoughts from a Delta Air Lines flight attendant with 34 years' experience:

"Trust me when I say we view the call light as for EMERGENCIES only. We treat every call light as such, so we try to get to the seat quickly to see if there is a serious problem. You can imagine our frustration when the person says, ‘Would you take my cup?'

"On a full flight, after about 10 of these nonemergencies, we want to pull our hair out. It slows down our service when we have to stop and hurry up the aisle to see what it is.

"A flight attendant is often walking through the cabin, so if you have a normal request, all you have to do is look him or her in the eye and say, "Excuse me?" Or, if you haven't seen a flight attendant in 10 minutes or so, you can always walk to the front or back galley and make your request. We have no problem when someone comes to the galley with trash or a request for a drink, etc.

"In short, save the call light for when you're having a heart attack or an epileptic seizure! Thanks for soliciting our input."

Email travel etiquette questions to Lesley Carlin at deartripadvisor@tripadvisor.com.

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