Flight Attendants Will Tune You Out For This Annoying Behavior

When you're soaring miles above the earth in a metal tube, the last person you want to aggravate isn't your seatmate who may bar your access to the bathroom (although you should be nice to them, of course). It's the flight attendant — or attendants, for that matter. Cozying up to flight attendants is perhaps the best thing you can do as a passenger since, after all, they're at your beck and call whenever you need something. Whether it's an extra blanket, another glass of wine, or meds for airsickness, they're your go-to for nearly any type of on-air assistance. But while it's a flight attendant's job to cater to the needs of everyone on board, they might deprioritize those who show problematic behaviors — like abusing the call button.


The call button is a standard fixture on every commercial aircraft, designed to let passengers have immediate access to assistance should the need arise. But hammering on it repeatedly is a one-way ticket to the cabin crew's blacklist, especially if you do it in crucial situations, particularly during takeoff and landing. They don't want to hear unnecessary dings when they're strapped onto their respective seats.

Misusing the call button can land you in hot water with the cabin crew

According to flight attendant Kat Kamalani, passengers who punch the call button in critical moments are a major cabin crew pet peeve. She explained in a viral TikTok video that it's something that travelers should absolutely avoid doing, especially "when we are on the tarmac or if we are going up or down on the aircraft," citing safety concerns as the key reason. "We could get injured, and same with you," she said. In fact, should you decide to punch it like an enthusiastic "The Voice" coach during the hustle of takeoff and landing, you might just get ignored altogether. "We won't even come to the light. We'll come to it afterward," she said. "So, don't hit this button if you need a barf bag, or a blanket, or water, headphones, food, or any of that stuff, because your flight attendant won't be so happy."


And it's not just adults who can get on flight attendants' nerves. Kids playing with the call button can be just as irksome. "Sure, it's cute that your child rang to order a milkshake. Then [rang] to ask what my third-favorite Pokémon is," flight attendant Amanda Pleva told The Points Guy. "Then to ask for four sodas he or she isn't even allowed to have ..." If you have a kid in tow who has a penchant for pushing buttons (literally and figuratively), you may want to keep their curious fingers busy elsewhere.

The appropriate time to use the call button

So, is the call button completely off-limits, you ask? Well, not exactly. It exists for a reason, after all, and contrary to popular belief, it's not solely for emergency situations. Longtime flight attendant Kristie Koerbel shared with The New York Times that using the button is a much better option than shouting or, even worse, physically reaching out to a flight attendant. "If you need something — a coffee refill, assistance with a medical issue or help with a disruptive passenger — please use it," she advised. "It is preferable to poking or tapping the flight attendant, which is not OK. Before you press it, though, make sure we aren't already in the aisle with a beverage cart or a trash bag — that means we're already coming!" And in truly urgent situations? Don't hesitate to press repeatedly — it's a clear signal for immediate assistance.


But for less pressing matters, learn to read the room — or the cabin. Before your finger hits the button, you must first assess if it's the right time to do so. Alaska Airlines flight attendant Veda Shook told The Washington Post that it's best to wait for the opportune moment. "When the seat belt sign is off, and the plane is at altitude, and you haven't seen the flight attendant in at least 15 minutes," that's when it's fine to chime in, she said.