Can You Give Gifts to Flight Attendants? (8 Ideas of Gifts)

flight attendant

Some people wonder why anyone would bring their flight attendant gifts when they are just doing their jobs, but there are a few good reasons why they do so.

Sometimes the passengers want to go the extra mile to show appreciation for the work the flight attendants do.

Sometimes, they bring gifts to share their celebratory spirits such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, overdue vacations, and more.

So what are some of the best gifts you can bring on board the aircraft?

Is It Okay to Give Gifts to Flight Attendants?

First, let’s explore if gift giving/receiving is appropriate.

If the gift is given with good intentions as shown above, then flight attendants love to receive gifts.

Everyone loves to feel appreciated and this is especially true when flight attendants have to work during the holidays away from their home, family, and friends, while everyone is coming or going to their own.

Gift giving, however, is not okay when it comes in the form of bribery.

Yes, there are passengers who expect special treatments such as seat upgrades, free alcoholic beverages, or “attention” for their gifts.

If you expect something in return for your gift besides the flight attendants’ gratitude and appreciation, then your gifts are not welcomed.

When is the Best Time to Give Gifts to the Flight Attendants?

The best time would usually be upon boarding, to the flight attendant who is greeting you by the door.

Boarding is the busiest time for the flight attendants so you shouldn’t be holding the line or unnecessarily trying to get their attention, but when there is a pause in the line it’s the best time to chat them up.

You just met, so it’s a great way to make a good first impression and set the atmosphere for the flight with or without a gift.

If you’re unable to do so during boarding, then any phase of the flight is okay as long as you don’t interfere with their work.

However, remember to do it before preparing to land so that all the flight attendants have the opportunity to thank you before you leave!

What Do Flight Attendants Like as Gifts?

1. Gift Cards

It could be any major retail store gift cards in your region but the most appreciated in the US are Starbucks, Amazon, and Target.

It’s widely available and versatile in use.

It is also easy for you to budget how much you would like to spend.

2. Snacks


This is the most accessible and easy to give.

Just grab a bag of chocolates while getting yourself some for your journey!

Some flight attendants might not appreciate it as much (they’re on a diet or just don’t like sweets), but the gesture is still greatly appreciated.

Just remember to get individually wrapped items so that it’s easier to share and to keep them sanitary.

3. Scratch Off Lottery Tickets

This is somewhat difficult if the flight attendant wins anything because they’ll either have to travel back to the purchased State to claim it (not sure how it works outside of the US), or give up the prize, but it is so much fun trying out your luck.

You can be the lucky passenger to make your flight attendant a millionaire!

4. Van Tips (Cash)

When flight attendants work for days at a time, they stay at hotels and give van tips to the drivers who work hard as well.

The cost can rack up quickly coming and going to the airport so a dollar per flight attendant really helps.

You can also give tips so that the crew can get a drink after work together to unwind on behalf of your generosity.

5. Small Beauty Products

small beauty products

Flight attendants in the US don’t have to adhere to the TSA guidelines about liquid restrictions when they are in full uniform, but they do fly without their uniforms often and have to get their bags checked.

Also, carrying around full-size items is just inconvenient and inefficient because they don’t check their bags.

Some international destinations, such as the United Kingdom, don’t give flight attendants exceptions to the liquid restriction rule so they have to follow all the rules the passengers do.

For various reasons, they go through a lot of travel-size items so small lotions and/or gender-neutral items such as hand sanitizers or Chapsticks can become great gifts too.

6. Local Specialty Items

local food (pastel de belen)

Even if a flight attendant goes to the same destination multiple times, they cannot know the area as well as a local can.

Receiving local’s favorite items such as sweets (Stroopwafels from Amsterdam, pasties de Belem from Lisbon, etc) or popular souvenirs (face masks from Japan, Manuka honey items from New Zealand, and more) can be a real treat.

Sometimes they don’t even get to stay long enough to enjoy a piece of what the area has to offer so when the passengers bring it to them, it becomes a lasting memory.

7. Flight Attendant Merchandise

I once had a passenger who was in the business of printing merchandise such as pens and t-shirts for conferences.

He specifically had some made and gifted to his flight attendants that said, “Flight Attendants are here to save your butt, not kiss it!”

It was funny and special, and a great way to market his business as well.

Travel merchandises such as luggage tags, airplane motif accessories, and airplane humor are always great gift ideas flight attendants can enjoy.

8. Reading Materials


This is a gift that can be enjoyed by both the giver and the receiver.

Light reading materials such as magazines can be shared easily so if you’re done, pass it down to the flight attendant!  After they’re done reading through it, it could also be left on the jumpseat for the next flight attendant to enjoy.

You’ll be sure to make my day if you gift me a great book that you’ve enjoyed reading.

Last Thought

Everyone likes to feel appreciated and flight attendants are not immune to the effect.  If you have another great gift idea, please don’t hesitate to put it into action!  It will make yours and their flight special.  Kindness is the key to every great flight.

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