Should You Tip a FA?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by MSYgirl, Nov 7, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. MSYgirl

    MSYgirl Gold Member

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    Airfare comparison site AirfareWatchdog conducted an interesting survey recently, asking 900 frequent flyers if they had ever tipped a flight attendant. In all, 27% said they had done so at least once, either to thank a flight attendant for a job well done or to reward one for going above and beyond the call of duty.

    The numbers should be taken with a couple of grains of salt. One grain: The survey only asked travelers if they'd ever tipped, not if they do so on a regular basis. Another grain: These are frequent flyers, who we imagine might be more inclined to take care of flight attendants they see on a regular basis.

    Still: 27 percent is a pretty striking figure. Is it really a common practice?

    "It's not common, but it's more common than you would think," says AirfareWatchdog's George Hobica.

    More here.

    Later in the article it mentions:

    Still, if you want to reward a flight attendant for a job well done, but don't feel comfortable giving cash, there are alternatives. Caldwell and Ingram both recommend a letter to the airline praising the attendant for a job well done. And Hobica says that cookies and sweets are always welcome, as he found on a recent flight where he gave the flight crew a box of shortbread cookies.

    "Sometimes they don't have time to eat," he says. "I think I bought [the cookies] at Trader Joe's for $3.99, but I got so many thank yous."
    ---
    This reiterates my practice of gifting the flight crew here. I've never considered giving them cash, but I always bring goodies. :D That reminds me, I have to order some king cakes...
     
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  2. colt245

    colt245 Silver Member

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    It has never even occurred to me that I should tip flight attendants, however what a nice idea to get a little treat in the form of cookies or sweets. I always make sure to thank them in person as I leave the aircraft but maybe next time I will get them a little something just to show my appreciation. Its only a small gesture but can mean a lot to the flight crew :)
     
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  3. anileze

    anileze Gold Member

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    I have off and on, given tchotchkes, or edibles. More so from the islands, because I know that flights to GCM,SLU etc turn around with the same inflight crew back to ATL, and they barely have time to stretch. Overall, I have received more takeaways from FAs than I can enumerate. Most common being a bottle of wine :)
     
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  4. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    Of course, another type of "tip" is the "recognition cards" provided by the airlines to their elite flyers for this purpose. The only problem (for me) with using them, is that I never seem to have one with me when I want to use it. But, on multiple occasions, I've made sure to get the crew member's name, and wrote a letter praising them - both email and snail mail - and sent it in to their HQ.
     
  5. MSYgirl

    MSYgirl Gold Member

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    Yep, I only get sent a scant few when renewing elite status, so I try to save them for when someone really goes out of their way to help me. I wish they gave us more.

    One of the FAs told me though, that when they turn them in it's added to a raffle of sorts, so it's no guarantee they will get anything out of it. I still run out before I'm sent more though, and hopefully they win the AA raffle.
     
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  6. ChrisUNC

    ChrisUNC Silver Member

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    I always make it a point to send a letter when I receive exceptional service. People are always so quick to complain when they have an issue, but great service goes unrecognized far too often - which can be demotivating for folks in the service industry. I often send the note while we're still in the air (shortly after we begin our initial approach before we have to turn off our devices) so I don't forget.
     
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  7. Betty Boop

    Betty Boop Gold Member

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    Based on your recent posts about this I bought some chocolate to give to FAs on my flight yesterday. Thank you again.

    Sent from my iPhone using milepoint
     
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  8. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    ChrisUNC,
    You may want to consider adding a snail mail letter to the appropriate office (or CEO/Chairman) at the airline HQ. I've had success in getting an airline's attention when I follow up an email with a signed snail mail letter. Honestly, this was also advised by a pilot I once shared an airplane row with, and it does work!
    Newscience
     
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  9. ChrisUNC

    ChrisUNC Silver Member

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    I honestly can't remember the last time I purchased a postage stamp, but you're right--if someone puts forth the extra effort to go above and beyond, then they deserve the extra effort on my part.
     
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  10. Randy Petersen
    Original Member

    Randy Petersen Founder

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    Good point. This is my typical channel to recognition. Not sure how I feel about tipping flight attendants, though I do tip the bus driver on the Avis shuttle from time to time when he/she makes me smile.

    Typically I connect tipping to industries whose employees are exempted from normal pay level requirements. Interesting to re-consider my former thoughts on this.
     
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  11. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    I've always assumed that at least some airlines frown on FAs accepting tips. If FAs don't want passengers to think of them as waiters and waitresses, then FAs shouldn't expect or encourage tips. They keep saying that they're safety professionals.....
     
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  12. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    O.K., let's consider the FAs job, especially on US-based air carriers. How would you consider their salary to be in terms of equitable pay for work performed? Obviously, we all want professionals guiding us on our flights, no matter what their duty on the plane, from flying it, assisting passengers, or handling our bags. At least I certainly want and expect professional behavior and knowledge from all airline personnel!

    That stated, I'm guessing (I haven't seen relevant statistics, perhaps you have, and can share this) that FAs work at what at times is a very stressful work environment. This observation is made from the number of obnoxious passengers, screaming infants and children, drunk idiots, and various emergencies (including serious medical events) that FAs are required to deal with.

    I'll also guess that, for the most part, FAs don't take home kingly and queenly salaries. But, if they're lucky so as to remain unjaded enough to enjoy the perks of working for the airlines, such as heading out to (and taking their families to) a great vacation location, their jobs just might be worthwhile.

    And so, if you receive superior service from a FA or any airline personnel, what would you advise? I agree with you about tipping professionals, but why not recognize someone that goes out of their way to help you? But, I've learned first-hand about the power of a written letter mailed to an airline HQ (not solely an email). If someone makes a difference in what could be a business-as-usual experience, why not recognize them in some way?
     
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