You’ll probably hear a variety of different chimes when flying aboard a commercial jet. Whether it’s a domestic or international flight, most airlines use a chime system for various notifications. Unbeknownst to most passengers, however, there’s a specific purpose for each of these chimes.
In a recent blog post, Qantas Airways the meaning of its chime system. According to the flag carrier of Australia, passengers typically hear a “boing” sound shortly after takeoff. This sound indicates the plane’s landing gear has been successfully retracted. It’s aimed primarily at the plane’s crew, but passengers generally hear the “boing” sound as well, especially those sitting in seats close to the plane’s landing gear.
“On our Airbus aircraft you’ll hear the ‘boing’ sound shortly after take-off – this sound lets crew know that the landing gear is being retracted. (Depending on where you are sitting, you can probably hear or feel it moving. If you’re downstairs in the pointy end of one of our Boeing 747’s – you’re basically sitting right on top of the front landing gear),” explained Qantas Airways.
Qantas Airways also explained the meaning of its chimes. A single chime, for example, occurs when a passenger presses the “call” bell in his or her seat. If you press the “call” bell, a panel will illuminate above your seat while simultaneously triggering a single chime. The purpose of this single chime is to alert the plane’s flight attendants so that they can check on what you need. When the single chime goes off, flight attendants will immediately know that a passenger needs something.
In addition to a single chime, Qantas Airways also use a Hi-Lo chime. In other words, it consists of two chimes: a high-pitched chime, followed by a low-pitch chime. Qantas Airways says the Hi-Lo chime is used when crew members from one gallery call crew members in another gallery.
Finally, Qantas Airways uses a triple Lo-Lo-Lo chime, which consists of three low-pitched chimes. This is done for priority messaging between the plane’s captain and crew members. If the place is approaching a pocket of turbulence, for instance, the captain may initiate the Lo-Lo-Lo chime to notify other crew members. Crew members can then take the necessary steps to secure items like meal carts so that they don’t get tossed around during the turbulence.
Of course, not all airlines use this same chime system. Others use different chime systems. With that said, nearly all airlines use some type of chime system for various notifications.