Travel SOS: Can I tip a flight attendant?

We tip staff in cafés, restaurants and hotels, but what about those in the air?

Should I tip a flight attendant?

Lesley was recently so happy with how she was treated on her premium economy flight that she felt impelled to tip her flight attendant but hesitated because she wasn’t sure if it was okay to do so.

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Q. Lesley
I had such a good flight from Bali and was treated so nicely by the flight attendants that I wanted to tip them. I didn’t, but I’m wondering if it’s okay to do that?

A. Over the years, we have invariably received questions from our members regarding whether or not to tip a flight attendant. This is a tricky one. While we don’t think twice about tipping those in restaurants, hotels or taxis, thanking those responsible for service in the sky is a different story.

The majority of airlines have policies that prevent their flight attendants accepting cash from passengers, but accepting non-cash gifts is allowed (except for food). So, should you wish to give your in-air assistant a physical token of your appreciation, stick to a box of chocolates (most often accepted, despite being food), something from the in-flight duty-free shopping range, or a voucher.

Or, you could be really radical, and verbally share your appreciation with the flight attendant in question, and their cabin manager. But the best way to show your gratitude is to get their name and share your glowing feedback with the airline’s customer service department.

Have you ever tried to tip a flight attendant? How do you show your appreciation to airline staff?

If you have a Travel SOS question for us, send it to newsletters@yourlifechoices.com.au and we’ll do our best to answer it or find someone who can.

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