Tipping On a Plane – American Airlines Flight Attendants Are in Favor – Are You?

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In case you haven’t heard, Frontier Airlines flight attendants accept tips when you make on-board purchases.  And according to a loose Instagram poll, many American Airlines flight attendants would like that trend to spread.  YUCK.

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Whether it be serving buy on board food items, serving cocktails or serving up a little sass …(oh wait 😳), that cart can keep you busy. With the recent news of Frontier flight attendants accepting gratuity in flight (its a screen on their tablet with an option to leave gratuity when paying for food or drinks) , it’s opening up the big question::: should we all be getting tipped? My intention was to post the DM’s i received today from the posted poll about tipping, but I had far too many so I thought i would leave the comments open so you could share your thoughts below . (Keep it nice, please) 🙏🏼 This is my opinion on tipping flight attendants. First reaction: everyone else in the service industry is making tips. Why not flight attendants. After giving it some thought : We are here PRIMARILY for your safety. We have spent years gaining the respect in the industry as professionals. Furthermore, tipping would be income and income is taxed. I am not willing to take a pay cut to allow tipping. NOW…What one person said. We’re not going to turn down commission on food sales, gift cards, chocolates etc. I am not sure why we don’t earn commission on alcohol. Someone would have to set me straight on that one. Ok, your turn. Comment away … ….thanks to @jettingjulia for this pic that fell right in my lap for this subject 😘😘😘

A post shared by AASTEWS Living Life In The Sky (@aastews) on

Should American Airlines Begin a Tipping System for On-Board Purchases?

Instagram account aastews, followed by a community of American Airlines flight attendants, recently conducted a poll to see what American Airlines flight attendants thought of American Airlines instituting an on-board tipping option.  Fifty six percent of the 1,200+ votes were in favor of tips.

That’s a very small sampling of the currently 27,000 American Airlines flight attendants.  And the post comments have lots of interesting arguments, mostly against tipping:

  •  I feel like encouraging passengers to tip us cheapens our position as professionals and makes it harder for passengers to take us seriously as an authority on the airplane.
  • …[I]f we are so focused on the service and making tips we may get distracted from our safety related duties
  • I believe we should be able to accept any tip a customer wishes to provide.  But I fear if this were to become a regular thing, the company will use this against us for negotiations and pay raises.  There is always a caveat to everything.
  • Rather get a pay increase than tipped, if the company knows we are getting tipped why would they need to increase pay.

Others are (understandably) more open to the idea:

  • We are there for their safety, but somehow the guy that’s rung his call button 4x for extra drinks & ice – is becoming nauseating.  Multiply that by 20 & I think tipping makes sense.  If we just sat there & regulated safety with nothing else , I would see that part.  But we serve.
  • I agree with not wanting wages cut.  But I wouldn’t hate if people decided to tip us with cash, candy, or other small things more often – especially the main cabin passengers who have us running back and forth for things.

Uneducated Thoughts

Tipping is a two-edged sword.

I am really NOT a fan of it.  Not because I’m anti-generosity, but because workers who receive tips are usually paid VERY little in hourly wages.  It’s a carrot-and-stick scheme to goad employees into demonstrating kindness.

I’m no economist, and I’m sure the tipping structure allows many businesses to employ more folks than they would otherwise be capable.  All I know is that it’s a relief to visit countries that have NO expectations of a tip, like Switzerland and Brazil.  My experience with servers in these countries has been delightful.

A decrease in wages with the addition of tips is also a concern of many folks in the aastews poll.  On the customer side, would tipping affect our on-board experience positively or negatively?  If I carry on NOT tipping my flight attendant, will I now receive ruffled murmurs?

The last thing passengers want another “unexpected fee” during our travels.  Hopefully we don’t see tipping flight attendants become the norm.

Let me know what you think about on-board tipping (or tipping in general).  Do you think this would improve or retract from the travel experience?

Hat Tip:   Paddle Your Own Kanoo

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