Those ‘Ding’ Sounds on Airplanes Actually Mean Something

May 8, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Anyone who’s flown on an airplane is likely familiar with a dinging sound, usually heard once back on land. It turns out, the chime means much more than being able to take off your seatbelt. Additionally, passengers may have heard a “boing” sound and, on occasion, a two-toned combination of high and low tones that resonates throughout the cabin. With so many variations, travelers may be left wondering: What do these gentle sounds actually mean?

Basically, it’s the airline crew’s way of communicating with each other from across the aircraft. In a blog post, Qantas revealed the meaning behind its chimes — a “boing” sound shortly after takeoff lets the crew know that the landing gear is being retracted, while a single chime signifies that a passenger requires assistance. When a section of the cabin requires more drinks or snacks, for example, a crew member can call another crew section within and a high-low chime combination goes off. When there’s turbulence ahead, a trio of low tones signals the crew to buckle up.

While the ding associated with turning off the seatbelt sign is similar among most airlines, the meaning behind other chime combinations isn’t always universal. As Airbus spokeswoman Kara Evanko explained to The Huffington Post, each carrier customizes its sound system differently. Several airlines — including JetBlue, Delta and American — confirmed their fleet’s usage of chimes, though their spokespersons declined to share details citing security reasons.

“Think of it as a language between the pilots and flight attendants,” Southwest spokeswoman Thais Hanson told The Points Guy. “A chime also accompanies the lighting or extinguishing of a sign; for example, when the seatbelt sign goes off and customers are able to move about cabin to use the facilities or stretch their legs, this will be indicated by a chime. While I can’t share all of our chime combinations and meanings, [the sounds] are used to signal to both flight crews and customers that an action is needed or has occurred.”

Featured image courtesy of Getty.

H/T: The Huffington Post

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.