Tipping Flight Attendants: Airline & Crew Insights

tipping flight attendant

So you start reaching in your pocket looking for a tip and stopping mid-way to ask yourself whether flight attendants can accept tips while working on the plane?

Well, you are at the right place because we have an answer for you. By exploring diffe­rent perspective­s and opinions on tipping flight attendants together, you’ll have a cle­arer understanding of whethe­r or not it’s appropriate to tip them.

Should Passengers Tip Flight Attendants?

Everyone appears to have a different opinion.

Some people think that tipping flight attendants is a way to express gratitude for their hard work and great service, while others claim that tipping is not conventional nor is it essential in the aviation sector.

The answer is no. But it depends.

Most of the airlines prohibit their flight attendants from accepting tips but there are some exceptions.

What do Airlines Say About Tipping?

Most major airlines discourage or even prohibit tipping, as they believe their crew members are adequately compensated for their services.

That makes sense, right?

They aim to maintain a consistent level of service in the cabin. However, it’s important to note that different airlines may have varying restrictions. Therefore, it’s always advisable to check with your specific airline before your flight.

💡For instance Frontier Airlines recently introduced a feature in its payment systems that allows passengers to leave tips on food and beverage purchases

💡Southwest Airlines forbids flight attendants from accepting tips when they are initially offered, but they are permitted to accept them if the passenger insists.

What Do Flight Attendants Think About Tipping?

The majority of flight attendants agree that leaving a tip is not expected.

They consider their work to be a part of their overall duties and believe that their pay should align with the services they provide during the trip.

But let me share some personal stories and provide you with my perspective on the question.

On one particular trip, we encountered turbulences that made one passenger feel sick.🤮 I immediately took action, handing out sickness bags, cold towelsclub soda and help clean up everything.

Throughout the flight, I kept checking on the passenger to make sure he was okay. The passenger was incredibly grateful and expressed his desire to thank me by leaving a $10 tip. Due to my airline’s policy, I couldn’t accept tips. But let me tell you, witnessing the happiness on his face was worth more than any tip. 😍

Now, let’s talk about another incident.

Imagine this:

Two parents boarded the plane with their two babies, and as soon as they stepped onboard, they gave me a box full of chocolates and lollipops along with a card that read: “Sorry in advance for the noise!”  signed the twins!  It was a funny and adorable gift that I greatly appreciated.

And I cannot forget that time when two passengers came onboard and surprised the entire crew with Starbucks gift cards. 

These gestures truly warm the heart, even more on those long and difficult days.

It truly brightens your day when you realize people genuinely care.

Those examples are intended to demonstrate that thanking your flight attendant with money is not always the only way or necessary.

Sometimes something as simple as a smile 😁 is enough to brighten their day.

Goodies, on the other hand, are permitted everywhere.

How You Can Show Gratitude to Flight Attendants

While tipping isn’t the standard, there are a lot of ways to show your gratitude to a flight attendant.

Here are some examples, it’s as simple as:

  • Giving a sincere “thank you”
  • Taking a moment to write a thank you note.
  • Treating the crew with respect and kindness throughout the trip (even on those bad days because your attitude and feedback can make a significant impact on us)
  • Writing a letter of recommendation for the airline, where you share the exceptional services you received.  (Most airlines have a customer service department where you can share your positive experiences and these comments can contribute to their performance evaluation and their recognition within the company)

👉 For more creative ideas on how to thank a flight attendant, you can check our article 6 Simple & Creative Ways to Thank Your Flight Attendants. It’ll give you ideas and suggestions on how to show gratitude and recognize the hard work of flight attendants.

My Personal Opinion

After reviewing the question from different angles, here’s my personal perspective:

As a flight attendant, I believe that the best “tip” a passenger can give me is their respect and appreciation for the efforts I have made to make their flight comfortable and enjoyable.  Some chocolates are not bad either😁

Honestly, it is not even about the money. I am more interested in the human connection. That’s what I remember after my flights and what stays in my memories.

Knowing that I had a positive impact on someone’s experience, no matter how small, is truly rewarding.


Tipping flight attendants varies depending on the individual, the employee, and the airline policies.

While most airlines prohibit tipping, there are other ways to show your appreciation that are equally meaningful to us.

Whether it’s sending a sincere thank you, providing positive feedback/comments, or simply writing a note, there are numerous ways to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of flight attendants.

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