Flight attendants on Emirates have been ordered to stop ignoring passengers when they engage the call button.
Unlike its U.S. counterparts, Emirates welcomes the uses of the flight attendant call button for both service requests and emergencies. When you press your call button on Emirates, even if it is just for a drink, FAs are supposed to promptly answer and accommodate your request.
But that has not been going on lately. Instead, flight attendants have been ignoring the call button.
In a memo obtained by Paddle Your Own Kanoo, Emirates warned its flight attendants to stop ignoring the call button:
Feedback from our customers in the last 4 months has highlighted that cabin monitoring is not being done as it should be. Cabins are being left unattended and call bells are not being answered immediately or at all.
Cabin crew have been reminded that they must answer “call bells” immediately. Furthermore, onboard supervisors must ensure that flight attendant presence is “consistently maintained” in the cabin. Flight attendants are also no longer allowed to reset passenger call buttons via a central control unit. Instead, the FA call light can only be turned off at the passenger’s seat, after the request has been addressed.
Mateusz Maszczynski, the author of the story, is an international flight attendant on an unidentified “Middle Eastern” carrier (my guess is Emirates). He added:
On some flights with a certain passenger profile, you might not hear a single call bell go off, on others it’s as if they are trying to transmit Morse code.
Emirates cabin crews are not happy about the memo, arguing that on shorter flights there will not be sufficient time to complete the service if every call bell must be answered.
I appreciate so much that on Emirates you are encouraged to use the flight attendant call button. At the same time, I understand that many (“with a certain passenger profile”) will use the button over and over again for trivial matters…and that is annoying.
Personally, I won’t use the call button — especially in economy class, but even in business class — unless I really need something. But the old adage, “It Might Be a Coke, It Might Be a Stroke” is true: FAs cannot succumb to the “boy who cried wolf” syndrome.
Finally, it is worth noting that even with its “slipping” service levels, Emirates is still likely miles ahead of carriers in Europe and North America, where call buttons are routinely ignored.