Should You Tip Flight Attendants? Here’s What You Need to Know

With the debate on tipping gaining momentum across various industries, travelers often wonder about the etiquette surrounding tipping flight attendants. While flight attendants provide essential services during flights, the question of whether to tip them remains contentious. This article explores the perspectives of industry experts and airline policies to provide clarity on tipping flight attendants.

The Perspective of Industry Experts

Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, emphasizes that the primary responsibility of flight attendants is passenger safety. She asserts that tipping flight attendants could potentially compromise their ability to prioritize safety in emergencies. Furthermore, Nelson highlights concerns about the objectification and sexualization historically associated with flight attendant roles, suggesting that tipping could exacerbate such dynamics and interfere with their duties.

Airline Policies on Tipping

Most major airlines, including American Airlines, Delta, and United, discourage flight attendants from accepting tips. These airlines generally adhere to a no-tip policy, aligning with industry standards. However, Frontier Airlines stands out as an exception, having introduced tipping options for onboard purchases in 2019.

Alternative Expressions of Gratitude

While tipping may not be commonplace, passengers have other ways to express appreciation to flight attendants. Small gifts, such as gift cards or edible treats, are gestures that some passengers opt for. Gift cards to eateries or chain coffee shops are particularly appreciated, offering flight attendants practical benefits during layovers or delays.


While tipping flight attendants may not be customary or encouraged by airlines, passengers can express gratitude through alternative means. Ultimately, acknowledging the professionalism and dedication of flight attendants with a simple “thank you” and courteous behavior during flights goes a long way in fostering a positive travel experience for all.

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