Galley Gossip: A question about tipping flight attendants

As a chronic over tipper in restaurants I’ve always been a bit confused when on a plane. While very occasionally an attendant will accept a tip, most often they move off before you can even try. Sometimes they outright won’t accept a tip. I’ve been in union jobs where the union disallows tipping in order to get a higher wage. Is this the case? I tip at the very least a dollar a drink at a bar, and I figure an attendant deserves even more than that. What gives?

Cliff F.

Before I can address Cliff’s question about tipping flight attendants, I have to say that I want you, Cliff, on one of my flights! Please let me know when you’re traveling again and I’ll trade onto the trip. Why? Because you sound nice. Because good passengers make good trips. Trust me, I’m not saying this because you’re a big tipper, but because you understand the plight of the working class. As for your question about tipping on flights, flight attendants, at least the ones at my airline, are not supposed to accept tips. Why aren’t we allowed to accept tips? I’m not sure – exactly. But my guess is it has something to do with the higher wage flight attendants make opposed to other service industry workers, like Cliff mentioned. Even though I do not accept tips (it’s my job to serve you that drink!), that tip, the one I did not accept, is greatly appreciated. So thank you, Cliff, for thinking of me. And I’ll be looking for you on my next flight.

Heather Poole