Thing. Creak. Rattle. whirring. There are a number of perfectly normal noises passengers hear while flying, and now a flight attendant is trying to demystify some of them.
American cabin crew member Tommy Cimato posted on TikTok about the meaning of different bell tones heard by passengers on board planes in a video that has been viewed more than 12 million times.
Essentially, the bells are for the crew to communicate with each other, and each bell displays a different code. one chime has a different meaning than two or three chimes.
“Have you ever heard that noise on an airplane? Do you sometimes wonder what that means?” said Tommi.
Commonly used on flights, a chime simply means that a passenger has pressed the call button.
“If you only hear one tone, that means a passenger is calling one of the flight attendants from their seat, or they could be calling us from the restroom,” Tommy said.
However, hearing three chimes is less common and more concerning as it signals an emergency.
“If you hear three of those high-low tones, it means it’s an emergency — but you never have to hear that,” he said.
And a high-pitched ring followed by a low-pitched tone has a different meaning — a crew member is trying to communicate with another teammate, or the flight deck is trying to call the flight attendants.
“A high-low beep means one flight attendant is trying to call the other flight attendant or the flight deck is trying to call us,” Tommy explained.
Others commented on TikTok about the bells, saying the system can be different for different airlines.
One person commented: “But beware, every airline’s ringer system is different. My airline used to use the three bells to notify flight attendants that we were about to land.”
And another wrote: “The plane I’m working on three bells calls the purser specifically.”
Others shared their stories of hearing the three bells: “I once heard three tones and all the battle companions froze. It turned out to be an accident, but I overheard them later discussing what it meant.”
Another added: “I flew out of ROC yesterday (12/11) and there were winds of 55 knots on take off. I heard the three bells and wondered what they mean
Most recently, another said: “I heard the three bells on a nine hour flight from LA to Sydney. It was a smoke alarm from a woman using hairspray in the bathroom – that scared me to death.”
While another said: “I’ve called three tones many times in a row and wondered why no one answered. Pilots freaked out. It was my first flight as a flight attendant.”