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Gift Giving to Flight Attendants: Dos, Don'ts, and Proper Etiquette

Last update: 2024-07-14

Appreciating Flight Attendants: Proper Gift Giving Etiquette

Before boarding your flight, you may be contemplating showing your gratitude towards the flight attendants who work tirelessly to ensure your comfort and safety. Flight attendants have a set of defined regulations and critical duties, such as guiding passengers to their seats, answering queries, and assisting with food and beverage purchases. Therefore, it is only natural to desire to present them with a token of appreciation. However, are there any restrictions on the type of gifts you can give them? Discover the answer to this question and more in this article.

Understanding Flight Attendant Responsibilities

Flight attendants are vital members of the airline industry, responsible for ensuring the smooth operation of flights. They have specific rules to adhere to while performing their duties, including providing safety demonstrations, monitoring the cabin atmosphere, and caring for the well-being of passengers.

flight attendants take care of passengers

They are continually working behind the scenes to make your journey as enjoyable as possible. As such, it is crucial to comprehend how to show your gratitude towards them without overstepping any boundaries.

The Dos and Don'ts of Giving Flight Attendants Gifts

Giving gifts to flight attendants is a common way to express appreciation for their services. However, there are certain etiquette rules to follow when offering them presents. It's essential to understand what you can and cannot give to flight attendants and when it is appropriate to do so. With the information provided in this article, you can prepare for your next flight and show your appreciation to these hard-working individuals in a respectful and thoughtful manner.

Giving Gifts to Flight Attendants: What's Appropriate and What's Not

Providing certain gifts to flight attendants is perfectly acceptable, though by no means mandatory. According to Betty Thesky, a renowned flight attendant and the author of Betty in the Sky with a Suitcase: Hilarious Stories of Air Travel by the World’s Favorite Flight Attendant, a small gesture of kindness is all it takes to show your appreciation. Keep in mind that cash is off-limits, and some airlines might have specific rules for accepting gifts. Thesky's experience highlights that simple, thoughtful gestures, like offering a bag of peanut M&M’s, can make a lasting impact.

M&M's are coloful button shape candies

Flight Attendant Gifts: What You Should Know Beforehand

Gift-giving practices differ across airlines, and there are specific regulations that flight attendants have to comply with. Therefore, it's essential to be informed and considerate of flight attendants' choices. It's best to avoid tipping flight attendants, as they are not permitted to carry cash. Instead, opt for a small token of appreciation, like a favorite candy or snack. Additionally, bear in mind that some presents may seem like too much. For instance, Betty Thesky remembers receiving a perfume gift from a first-class passenger, which was incredibly kind of them.

The Art of Gift-Giving: Building a Good Relationship with Flight Attendants

hands hold puzzle cards

While it's not necessary to bring gifts when flying, it can create a pleasant experience and help establish a positive relationship between passengers and flight attendants. As Betty Thesky points out, flight attendants can be quite responsive to acts of kindness. Even a small, affordable present like the peanut M&M’s Thesky mentions can make a big difference. Flight attendants may remember you and make sure to be extra nice to you throughout the flight. So, it's safe to say that you can be a cheap date while making friendships in the air.

The Significance of Presenting Gifts to Flight Attendants

In most cases, individuals offer gifts to flight attendants to express gratitude for their hard work. Many passengers tend to overlook flight attendants, making it essential to appreciate them through gifts. Heather Poole, a flight attendant and author of Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet, reveals that gifts give flight attendants a sense of recognition, considering that many passengers don't even respond to their greetings upon boarding. Poole highlights that passengers should not feel obligated to offer gifts, but when they do, it undoubtedly feels like a dream come true.

Acceptable Gifts for Flight Attendants

If you intend to offer a gift to a flight attendant, Poole recommends anything that is sealed and unopened, such as wrapped candy and chocolate.

chocolate bar
Passengers often drop off gifts with the first-class attendants, requesting them to share with the entire crew. Depending on the plane's size, gifts may be dropped off in every cabin- first, business, and coach. Usually, passengers offer candy, chocolates, or Starbucks gift cards. Homemade treats are not advisable, and it's always best to offer store-bought items.

Passengers sharing gifts on flights

Flight attendants are not the only ones who can receive gifts on flights, as passengers can share gifts with others as well. According to Thesky, parents with babies have given little gift bags containing candy and earplugs to the people sitting around them. The note included with the gift expressed their apology in advance for any crying the baby might do during the flight, despite their efforts to keep their little one happy. Sharing gifts with fellow passengers can create a friendly and thoughtful environment on board.

Gift giving as an act of kindness

Gift giving on flights should be a considerate and thoughtful act. It is a great way to get noticed by flight attendants and to spread kindness to those around you. A small gesture like sharing a gift can go a long way, even in the air. Remember to always be respectful of others and their space when giving gifts on flights.


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