It appears as though Emirates has an issue with cabin crew answering the call bell. A crew memo from the Middle Eastern carrier showed that the area has been a shortfall for the airline over the past four months.
The call bell is used to alert the cabin crew that you require attention. Typically, this would be used for anything from requesting a drink to alerting the cabin crew to an emergency on board. However, the call button is rendered effectively pointless if the crew do not answer the system. After all, what use would it be owning a telephone you never answered it?
Life or death button
As pointed out by Paddle Your Own Kanoo, the passenger call bell could be the difference between life and death. While a passenger could just be requesting another diet coke, they could also be having a heart attack. One would hope that a passenger would never have to rely on the call bell in such a situation, however, on a night flight it could be essential for alerting crew.
Emirates is known around the world for its high standards of cabin service. However, in order to maintain these standards, the crew have to work incredibly hard. This reputation is one that the airline obviously wants to maintain. As such, the airline wants to ensure that the call button is recognised.
In fact, the call bell could be one of the key things that a passenger remembers about a flight’s service due to its active nature. For example, if a drinks service is missed by the crew, it may not be noticed by passengers who aren’t expecting it. In contrast, by pressing the call bell, the passenger is making an action. As such, they are more likely to remember the experience, as they will definitely notice if it was missed.
Emirates handed out a memo to staff regarding missed call bells. It read:
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.
Additionally, it has been reported that crew are now forbidden for cancelling a call bell from a central computer. Instead, they must walk to the passenger’s seat, and cancel the call in front of the passenger.
While I feel for the Emirates cabin crew for the hard work which they do, I also empathise with the passengers. It is an expectation from a passenger point of view that the call bell should be answered. If it wasn’t answered, having the call bell would be like dangling a carrot in front of a donkey.
Do you feel the memo is fair? Let us know in the comments!