I'm still very new to this game. I've been flying for almost 4 years and at my airline for a little over 2 years. Questions pop up in my head every now and then that I don't have the answer too. One question concerned the Flight Attendant call button.
Being so junior I deadhead often. I also non-rev quite a bit as non-reving is the best benefit I have. If I couldn't non-rev......if my wife couldn't non-rev....I don't think I would put up with all the crap.
In all over my 32 years on this earth I have never used the Flight Attendant call button. I've always been kind of afraid too. Silly I know. But it's true. I've seen the looks some flight attendants give passengers who hit that button. No thank you.
I was curious though about ways to get a coke or water in between services. There is an awesome (seriously check it out) podcast called The Crew Lounge. The podcast is run by Flight Attendants from several airlines. They cover topics concerning not only flight attendants, but pilots and passengers as well. One of the Flight Attendants on the show is Sara from The Flying Pinto. Via Twitter (I long thought of Twitter as a fad, but when used properly is an informative and entertaining tool) I asked The Crew Lounge the following question to them, " Is it kosher to just walk up to the galley and ask for something or just use the call button?"
In The Crew Lounge episode 5 they answered my question...boy did they ever! There were several opinions on the use of the call button. The short answer is, if the service is over, the flight has some time left, you aren't sitting in the window seat next too two people who are sleeping, and the flight attendants aren't eating their lunch, then sure attempt to approach and ask for something. I know the Flight Attendants on my mainline partner this tactic is hit or miss.
As with most legacy airlines, the Flight Attendants at my mainline partner are all senior. They are a varied group and are extremely varied when it comes to attitude.
When I travel in uniform (be it Deadhead or personal), most of the Flight Attendants make a point to give me whatever I want. If I ask for water, I get a whole bottle. Snacks are handed over no charge. It's nice as we are all one big disgruntled (and slightly dysfunctional) family.
While traveling incognito (only partially as Flight Attendants get a manifest and can see who is a non-rev and who is a paying passenger...plus a lot more info) some Flight Attendants just seem downright un happy. I know we all have our bad days, but I've seen the same Flight Attendants on more than one flight treat passengers, and their fellow Flight Attendants, horribly. On the other side I've seen some flight attendants who seem to have a permanent smile and great attitude.
In case you haven't noticed, Flight Attendants don't have much in the way of personal space on airplanes. The galley and their jump seats are all they have. When I have stopped by the galley (the handful of times) I make it a point to stand back a bit and politely ask for something. Most of the Flight Attendants are happy to assist, a few gave me the "get the hell out of my space glare" and a few (when I am in Uniform or they know me) tell me to help myself.
On the most recent episode of The Crew Lounge, they covered how reserve and commuting works. They gave a good overview of why people choose to commute and how the reserve system works. Flight Attendant reserve isn't much different than pilot reserve. I subscribed to their podcast and look forward to every episode. Anyone with an Zune, computer or even an I-Pod should check it out.