This may be confirmation bias on my part, this might be impatient passengers pressing the call button, and it might be me imagining things, but it's one of those I've wondered about. I'll try to describe as best I can.

Of all the times I've flown recently on an airliner, of which most of the time it's a short haul carrier often flying smaller Boeing/Airbus aircraft*, I have been aware that there is an audible chime which can be heard throughout the cabin (ie, not only when sat in the vicinity of crew seats) very soon (30-45 seconds) after take-off.

It is heard well before the passenger seat-belt signs are switched off.

Can anyone describe what I am hearing and what its purpose is? Who is this a signal for, and who is sending the signal?

* the two times I've flown on an Embraer I don't recall hearing it


5 Answers 5


It's signalled from the cockpit (the cabin chime) to let the cabin crew know it's OK to move around. If you watch, this happens before the seat belt sign goes off which at the earliest, is at 10,000 feet.

  • $\begingroup$ You may be right that it is the point that the cabin crew may move around. It is definately before the passengers are allowed to do so. $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec
    Oct 15, 2015 at 12:37
  • $\begingroup$ See Cabin chimes and overhead panel lights for the lights associated with the chimes. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Oct 15, 2015 at 20:39
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This is the right answer. @Jamiec the reason you didn't see this is the Embraers is the "sterile cockpit light" is used to signal the flight attendant that they can stand up and move around. Next time you're on one, look for the blue light just above the cockpit door, and when what happens in the cabin when the crew turns it off after passing through 10k feet. $\endgroup$
    – casey
    Oct 16, 2015 at 17:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ No way the cabin crew is allowed to move just 30 seconds after takeoff. That is a different chime, indeed around 10,000 ft. Why was this the accepted answer instead of @K48 ‘s one? $\endgroup$
    – Radu094
    Aug 11, 2019 at 14:11

The chime shortly after takeoff is triggered when the landing gear is fully retracted and the gear doors are closed.

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).


I've heard that on virtually all A320 planes that I've flown on (AirAsia, Cathay Dragon, HK Express), a few seconds after the plane is airborne.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Also at least in Airbus aircraft you can see the exit lights going off at the same time. Another chime is heard when the landing gear City mes down and the exit lights turn on. $\endgroup$
    – Sami
    Sep 30, 2018 at 17:31

To be precise, on the Airbus, the chime comes on after the emergency exit signs are turned off. In the Airbus Normal Procedures, the Emer Exit Signs are set to Auto, meaning the Signs would turn off after the LG are up and locked.

So it is not a chime to inform the cabin crew that the gears are up and locked, but a chime that sounds when the Emer Exit Signs are turned off.


There is no automatic chime on a Boeing! Any chimes heard immediately after takeoff will likely be the cabin crew using this “dead” time (unproductive time prior to the extinguishing of the seat belt light by the captain) to start coordinating service details.


Actually. The chime is to signify the exit signs are now shut off. But also, nobody mentioned this, but it signifies the exit sign lights are physically recharging their batteries

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