Poll: Do you ring the flight attendant call button?

A few weeks ago I read this article about ten things not to say to a flight attendant. There were several that I agree with wholeheartedly, including “Oh, stewardess!” and “I miss the good old days of hot flight attendants!” But one suggestion really surprised me: only use the call button when it’s really necessary; if you want a glass of water, walk back to the galley to ask for it. I’m usually of the mind that I can wait for beverage service before asking for some water. However, if there are extenuating circumstances—you’re coughing, ill, pregnant, or even if it’s just been a long time—the call button seems far preferable than everyone rushing the galley when they need something. As much as I think I’m always right (hah!), I clearly have learned there are other opinions. So what’s yours?

What do you do if you want a glass of water?

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  1. I will add that it wholly depends on the carrier I’m flying. If it’s a North American or European airline, I will go back to the galley, otherwise the call button it is. It seems there’s a different service mentality in that respect when it comes to various carriers.

  2. Different airlines have different cultures. On U.S. airlines generally the call button is not used, but on some Asian airlines it is just about the only way to get service between mealtimes and they don’t mind.

    On U.S. airlines I try to flag down a flight attendant, but if more than 10 minutes pass or they are just all gossiping in the galley, then it’s fine to ring the call button, especially if you are not in an aisle seat.

  3. I generally wait until a flight attendant passes me by but on many US based airlines, it almost always seems like they are busy doing something for someone else and my drink request gets forgotten.

    Recently, my husband and I took a long trip and since I’m pregnant, I tried to anticipate my needs in advance. We flew entirely first and business class except for our positioning flights within the US and generally, the service was pretty regular. I did try to keep some water handy though.

    I would guess that the flight attendants would have been even more accommodating had it been more obvious that I am pregnant. It’s still pretty early and my belly just popped at the end of our 2 week trip so most of the flight attendants probably just thought I was crazy getting up to use the lav so often…haha

  4. It depends on a lot of things – how easy it is for me to leave my seat is a big one. It’s worth it to inconvenience the flight attendant rather than the folks sitting between me and the aisle if I have a window seat, for instance. I’ve never had a flight attendant seem irritated by it.

  5. As others have said, it depends. Window seat? Use the call button. Aisle seat? Get up and go to the galley. But really, I never drink water so this is a wholly hypothetical question.

  6. I make sure to grab a bottle of water to take with me on board. In the last 5 years I’ve used the call button twice—once when the cabin was extremely hot & once whe the Flight Attendant had forgotten to return my coat in 1st class & we were getting close to the gate (she was too busy talking & texting on her phone–she was in clear sight & I had tried motioning to get her attention 1st).

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