If your airline’s ”service with a smile” has blown you away, you can now reward flight attendants for their efforts. As of Jan. 1, Frontier Airlines flight attendants are now accepting individual tips. The company introduced tipping through its in-flight payment system three years ago, but previously required flight attendants to pool tips. Customers who order a drink or a snack aboard a Frontier flight will now be prompted by a message reading “gratuities are appreciated!” to add a tip of 15 percent, 20 percent or 25 percent.
But should you tip your flight attendant? While many say it’s a nice gesture, some travel advocates and flight attendants themselves are opposed. The Association of Flight Attendants International, a union that represents 50,000 flight attendants at 20 airlines including Frontier, opposes the tipping policy, saying attendants should instead be paid higher wages. (The median annual salary for a flight attendant hovers at around $50,500, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.)
Meanwhile, most airlines do not allow their flight attendants to accept tips. United Airlines flight attendants are not allowed to accept tips, a spokeswoman told Marketwatch. American Airlines said it instructs its team members to decline tips, if offered. “The best way our customers can recognize our team members is by sending a note to our customer relations team,” a spokesman said.
Elaine Swann, an etiquette expert based in Los Angeles who previously worked as a flight attendant for 10 years, said flight attendants always appreciate tips, but she fears this move is a means for Frontier to supplement employee perks without actually increasing pay.
Source: NY Post