Should You Tip Flight Attendants? No, Except…

Should You Tip Flight Attendants? No, Except…

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I recently wrote about etiquette when it comes to tipping in airport lounges. Not surprisingly, people had very different takes. Today I wanted to write about a topic that I think most of us will be in agreement on, but I wanted to look at it a bit more broadly.

No, you shouldn’t tip flight attendants

While flight attendants spend most of the flight providing service to customers, unlike other people in service industries, they shouldn’t be tipped. There’s no expectation to tip flight attendants, and for that matter some airlines have policies against tipping flight attendants. I wanted to look at this from a few different angles, though.

What flight attendant unions say about tipping

Flight attendant unions oppose the concept of flight attendants being tipped. As the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) said in a statement a few years back:

“Tipping is not part of a Flight Attendant’s compensation for serving as aviation’s first responders. Flight Attendants are certified for our safety, health, and security work. Safety is not variable and therefore base compensation for a safety job cannot be variable.”

I’ve always found this perspective to be a bit odd:

  • Unions overplay how flight attendants are aviation’s “first responders” — yes, flight attendants absolutely have important safety functions and should be respected for that, but the reality is that they spend a vast majority of their time on customer service, rather than dealing with emergency situations, and the two aren’t mutually exclusive
  • It’s interesting how unions aren’t opposed to flight attendants being paid for credit card applications (via the inflight sales pitches), even though arguably it has a similar impact to allowing tipping
Flight attendant unions oppose tipping

Are flight attendants allowed to accept tips?

Even though there’s no expectation for flight attendants to receive tips, a surprising number of passengers do still try to tip flight attendants. That’s not to say it happens on every flight, but rather that most flight attendants have been offered a tip from a passenger at some point or another in their career.

Most major airlines have policies against flight attendants accepting tips. Other airlines (like Southwest) discourage tips, but state that if a passenger insists on it, a flight attendant is allowed to accept a tip.

Southwest allows tips if a passenger insists

How you can show gratitude to flight attendants

There are a few ways to show gratitude to a flight attendant that don’t involve tipping:

  • You can simply thank them for the great service, and tell them how much you appreciate it
  • You can write a nice note to the airline complimenting an employee, and you do so via Twitter or email
  • Elite members at airlines are often given “job well done” certificates, which they can give to employees that go above and beyond

If you do want to provide a more tangible gesture to a flight attendant, generally a non-cash gift would be better received and less controversial than a cash gift. This could be a Starbucks gift card or a box of chocolates (assuming it’s sealed).

There are other ways to show gratitude to flight attendants

The one airline that asks for flight attendant tips

It’s worth noting that there’s one exception to the “no tipping” rule. Frontier Airlines actively encourages passengers to tip, unlike virtually every other airline in the world. The ultra low cost carrier charges for food & drinks, and when you pay by credit card you’ll be handed the card processing machine and will be given the option to tip, as a percentage of the purchase amount.

As a Frontier Airlines spokesperson describes the company’s policy:

“We appreciate the great work of our flight attendants and know that our customers do as well. Tipping is entirely at the customer’s discretion, and many do it.”

Admittedly this confuses a lot of passengers:

  • On the one hand, if you’re in the United States, you’re asked to tip, and you’re being provided a service, many may feel cheap not tipping
  • On the other hand, even Frontier Airlines’ flight attendant union opposes tipping, claiming that the airline does this in lieu of paying flight attendants better
Frontier Airlines encourages tipping

Is it rational that we don’t tip flight attendants?

I’m by no means trying to start a campaign to start tipping flight attendants, but I think this is an interesting topic to discuss in the context of the tipping culture in the United States.

At least in domestic first class, you might have someone looking after you for five hours, serving you a meal, constantly refilling your drinks, etc. Perhaps aside from a hospital, this is just about the only context in which you get this kind of service and aren’t expected to tip.

Yet all too often, people complain about the level of service provided by flight attendants (I’m not saying that’s right, just saying that’s what you hear a lot). What standards can we really have when flight attendants are primarily judged based on their seniority number, and get no real additional pay for providing premium service vs. working economy?

Service in restaurants in the United States is generally much more attentive than in Europe, and presumably that’s at least partly because servers are primarily compensated with tips. Now, I’m not saying that’s what should happen with flight attendants, but surely the service culture would be different if there were a variable pay element that reflects the level of service provided?

Again, I’m not suggesting we should see any policy changes here, but rather I’m just pointing out that many people aren’t pleased with the level of service provided by flight attendants, and this is also one of the few service industry jobs in the United States where there’s no tipping. I imagine that’s not a coincidence.

Would first class service be better with tipping?

Bottom line

No, you shouldn’t tip flight attendants, except on Frontier, where you have the option of doing so. In general both airline unions and airline management oppose the practice of tipping, which seems to be one of the few things they can agree on. 😉 There are other ways to show your gratitude, like writing a note complimenting a flight attendant that goes above and beyond.

What’s your take on flight attendant tipping?

Conversations (83)
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  1. Essy Guest

    For those that say Europeans don't tip at restaurants - you're wrong. Not all do but a large majority do, we tip hôtel cleaning staff too. Especially if you yourself have worked in the service sector because you know how terribly hard the work is. And, in fact, it's lovely to tip in Europe because it's just an absolute bonus for the staff and not a requirement to live.

  2. Lai Guest

    Tipping gas become so horrible and huge entitlement in the United States. It is ridiculous... Countries and citizens going awfully wild. Expectation overboard. Why not tip over one, nurse, doctor, pilots, polices, firefighters, and it become bribery. So out of control

    1. LL Guest

      It depends on how much the tip is, the context and other things. Why does someone want to provide a tip? Did they receive amazing service and feel the need? Or is it to receive some kind of benefit (like they want a person to say "thank you" to them? Perhaps attention seeking behaviour? I do think there are 2 sides to this. I think it has to be completely voluntary but I think tipping should...

      It depends on how much the tip is, the context and other things. Why does someone want to provide a tip? Did they receive amazing service and feel the need? Or is it to receive some kind of benefit (like they want a person to say "thank you" to them? Perhaps attention seeking behaviour? I do think there are 2 sides to this. I think it has to be completely voluntary but I think tipping should be encouraged if someone "feels the need" to give. In a nutshell, I think that tipping should be encouraged for good service (in other words, earned) but not for any other reason.

  3. Me Guest

    Fire fighters and rescue squad personell also spend quite a lot of their working hours in a resting position, but we all cheer them on when the emergency is there. Is the fact that an emergency does not happen every flight a reason to say they are not emergency personell?

  4. John Guest

    It seems to me that when a company sells a product or a service for a specific price, it is the company's responsibility to bear the cost of providing that product or service. (Oh, and when's the last time you gave a tip at Wal-Mart or AutoZone?)

    When I have dinner in an expensive restaurant, why am I expected to pay the restaurant's employees? Because the owner is too cheap to pay them? I never...

    It seems to me that when a company sells a product or a service for a specific price, it is the company's responsibility to bear the cost of providing that product or service. (Oh, and when's the last time you gave a tip at Wal-Mart or AutoZone?)

    When I have dinner in an expensive restaurant, why am I expected to pay the restaurant's employees? Because the owner is too cheap to pay them? I never understood the tipping concept, especially a whopping 20% of the check. The restaurant owner is getting away with murder.

    1. chasgoose Guest

      The restaurant owner is legally allowed to pay tipped workers less than minimum wage in most states. So, yes you have to tip because the restaurant owners are too cheap to pay their employees what they deserve. On the other hand, if those states got rid of those laws, your bill would go up by about 20% anyways.

  5. JorgeGeorge Paez Guest

    Can you imagine ben being forced to tip when he gets so much stuff for free?
    Next dogs and cats will be living together and, oh no, here comes the stay puff marshmallow man!

  6. JorgeGeorge Paez Guest

    They are "first responders" according to the union. Nobody claims they are great responders ("is there a doctor on board who can bail me out?") because reasons.....

  7. Jfiall Guest

    As a flight attendant for a major U.S. carrier I prefer you don’t tip,ever. People do try and while I appreciate the thought, I love my job and I’m compensated accordingly so I don’t expect or want a tip. It’s not part of our culture and when you do try to tip, it kinda makes me feel uncomfortable. You wanna make my day, very often all we hear are complaints, tell me what I’ve done right and a simple thanks goes further than any tip.

  8. YULtide Gold

    Seriously, I think you should tip 20% of the cost of your flight, 25% if using points.

  9. YULtide Gold

    So, just to be clear, should I tip a doctor, nurse, dentist, lawyer, TSA agent, police officer, Immigration agent.....? Really not sure where tipping starts or ends.

  10. Jesper Guest

    Oh puh-leeze, the tip driven service culture in the US is not a driver of good and attentive service. Why do I need to be asked several times "Are you still working on that?", any wait staff worth a tip would look at my cutlery and not annoy me with that question. What is it with the "Whenever you are ready". They have zero intentions of waiting for me to be ready, they just want...

    Oh puh-leeze, the tip driven service culture in the US is not a driver of good and attentive service. Why do I need to be asked several times "Are you still working on that?", any wait staff worth a tip would look at my cutlery and not annoy me with that question. What is it with the "Whenever you are ready". They have zero intentions of waiting for me to be ready, they just want to reseat the table to earn more gratuities. I get it, there is a need to tip in the US restaurants, as that is how the salary is structured, but don't try to pretend it gives better service. The best service I have had in restaurants in the US have always been in places where the gratuities were already included in the price with no option to tip further.

    Despite Ben's not so subtle hints in favour tipping culture potentially driving better service on US based airlines it is a naive assumption. No amount of tipping will bring United up to the level of Singapore Airlines.

  11. BobC Guest

    Aren't flight attendants mostly there for safety (as they often remind flyers)? If so, then should they, as well as pilots and maybe air traffic controllers, be tipped for every safe landing??

  12. Frog Guest

    Why not tip the captain too while we’re at it. Hand them a 20 as you walk out to thank them for getting you to your destination.

  13. Spring chicken Guest

    Should we tip a travel blogger who provides a service by publishing articles we enjoy?

  14. Sir Digby Chicken Caesar Guest

    Here’s three tips:

    1. Get a job that pays enough to not need to rely on donations from the general public

    2. Buy products/services from companies who quote the actual total price for whatever is being bought

    3. If these are not possible in your location - go live somewhere else

  15. AA FA Guest

    AA FA here and I’ll shed some light on how most FA’s view this.
    1) tips in coach usually come at the beginning of the flight. You’ll drink a reasonable amount of booze for free. These are sometimes unwelcome as some passengers think they “own” you for 2 hours because they slipped you a $20 bill.
    2) tips in business/first usually come at the end of the flight and they are a welcome...

    AA FA here and I’ll shed some light on how most FA’s view this.
    1) tips in coach usually come at the beginning of the flight. You’ll drink a reasonable amount of booze for free. These are sometimes unwelcome as some passengers think they “own” you for 2 hours because they slipped you a $20 bill.
    2) tips in business/first usually come at the end of the flight and they are a welcome gesture of thanks for a good service.
    3) chocolates/candy/etc are equally appreciated by the whole crew.
    4) the elite thank you certificates are appreciated, but a letter to the company is an even bigger thank you.
    5) If I had to choose a form of recognition, a genuine thank you as you exit the plane and a nice note to the company is the best form of appreciation you can give us.

    1. Mikd Guest

      What a beautifully insightful comment. To be honest - better than the post…
      Lucky- can we get a regular column by AAFA?

  16. Olivier Delestre-Levai Guest

    This is ridiculous, and I feel this article is only feeding the tip machine that is already well in place in the US.
    But the worst in the US is not to have a final retail price displayed, you always have to add the service, tax and all different type of fees.
    I really don't know why knowing the gross price before all these fees is relevant to the customer...

  17. jill Guest

    I have seen people give a box of chocolates to the flight attendants on a long haul flight in first class. Boy did they get great service at the expense of the rest of us! I have also witnessed two very drunk guys in first who were completely obnoxious and loud (and maskless) get away with it and continue to be served because they handed each flight attendant a twenty. In each case this tipping made my experience worse.

  18. Bruh Guest

    The general attitude of any FA on a long domestic US airline flight in any cabin is downright condescending. They act like they are doing us a favor by being there even though they should proactively offer better service since the pandemic recovery means that they have better job security now. I shall by no means tip them for gracing me with their unpleasant presence. * After the post about tipping lounge servers, I can...

    The general attitude of any FA on a long domestic US airline flight in any cabin is downright condescending. They act like they are doing us a favor by being there even though they should proactively offer better service since the pandemic recovery means that they have better job security now. I shall by no means tip them for gracing me with their unpleasant presence. * After the post about tipping lounge servers, I can only conclude that the next post will be about your readers tipping you for writing this blog. You need to chill*

  19. D3kingg Guest

    I used to tip FAs when cash was still accepted in the main cabin for alcohol purchases. Now no. If you give a gift or gift card around the holidays to an FA that is kind. Airline crew must account for 5% of Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts airport sales.

  20. Razzak Memon Guest

    Coming from Abbotabad, Pakistan where tipping (bribery) is the norm to get the most basic task done (incl marrying my wife but its called dowry), I see no problem with tipping in the US or tipping the crew. This is America people & this is Freedom which all the whining people from overseas don't have. God Bless the USA and God Bless OMAAT.

  21. Greg Swiderski Guest

    We fly Southwest almost all the time. I always give the purser, the head flight attendant or the Captain, a thank you note. I thank them for a safe and enjoyable flight. Ten years flying Southwest, I never failed to give the card. Can't say the same for Spirit.

  22. Creditcrunch Diamond

    Please this tipping culture in the US is getting out of control, I am currently on holiday in San Francisco and even the guy at the farmers market I bought some fresh fruit from when he passed me the card reader prompted me to use the “pen” to select pre selected tip amounts or select no tip. I selected no tip and hot footed it away but our US friends need to end the culture, it’s really putting me off from coming back. Ps sort out these resort fees too!

  23. Stan Ferris Guest

    When I board I have either Lindor Chocolates or Starbucks Gift Cards for the FA's. They appreciate it and since I am usually in FC, I don't expect anything from them. It is more of a gift of appreciation to counter for the a**holes they have to deal with and the people in these blogs that believe they are their "Sky Waitress". When you are employed in customer service you have to deal with all...

    When I board I have either Lindor Chocolates or Starbucks Gift Cards for the FA's. They appreciate it and since I am usually in FC, I don't expect anything from them. It is more of a gift of appreciation to counter for the a**holes they have to deal with and the people in these blogs that believe they are their "Sky Waitress". When you are employed in customer service you have to deal with all kinds of personalities; one small gift of appreciation can change your entire day of dealing with the above mentioned individuals.

    1. AA FA Guest

      My kitchen is always well stocked with chocolate because of folks like you. Much appreciated and never expected.

  24. iamhere Guest

    Very similar to the structure of many restaurants in the United States. Some restaurants each server will receive the entire tip, while others it is put in a "pot" and divided among the staff. It seems that the airlines that people generally think are "cheap" or "low cost" have more flexible tipping policies. In reality these airlines are not so cheap compared to legacy airlines especially when you add on extra fees and a bunch...

    Very similar to the structure of many restaurants in the United States. Some restaurants each server will receive the entire tip, while others it is put in a "pot" and divided among the staff. It seems that the airlines that people generally think are "cheap" or "low cost" have more flexible tipping policies. In reality these airlines are not so cheap compared to legacy airlines especially when you add on extra fees and a bunch of small aspects that make the experience not as good. This said, it sounds very much like the flight attendant that served you is not getting the tip on Frontier. This would be especially evident if there is no marking of a name or employee number who served you. These days we often see in restaurants server and cashier names or employee numbers on the check. I wonder if the airline is just pocketing the tip.

  25. Colt Guest

    WTAF? Why not tip them when you tip others - this just shows the total utter insanity of tipping culture. The sooner it goes the better, but I suspect that's as likely as any progress in gun control...

  26. Debra M Casillas Guest

    I NEVER fly without bringing high quality chocolates for the onboard crew. Sealed of course! And for the most part? It is welcomed as a very unexpected yet appreciated surprise/gesture.

  27. CAROLYNNE Guest

    You would be embarrassed that this was being discussed if you knew how
    Much FA for the major airlines make. With overtime, super seniority, long flights they can make $100,000 a year. I flew for 10 years.

    1. Al Guest

      Wow! That's more than lots of doctors make here in the UK!

    2. Alonzo Diamond

      Not that I advocate for tipping FA's, but what you described is not the average.

    3. chasgoose Guest

      I doubt very many FAs at Frontier are making 6 figures. If Frontier is encouraging tips and FAs would rather they didn’t it seems like Frontier is trying to pay them less.

  28. dander Guest

    Lucky you generally fly business class or better. Do a few flights in coach on different airlines and see how the masses get treated. Some flight attendants are great and will treat you better if you're human to them, others need another job. Ifs rare that you see an American flag carrier flight attendants roam the aisles on a regular basis

  29. Darren C Gold

    Tipping allows one to be condescending and simultaneously delude oneself into thinking one cares about the less wealthy.

    The real tipping questions while traveling...how much should one tip:
    -strippers
    -prostitutes
    -drug dealers

    1. D3kingg Guest

      @Darren C

      Always tip the ho’s.

  30. NYGuy24 Gold

    Honestly this is not a topic that needs to be discussed. Why should it be? Do we really need to expand tipping to even more groups of people? Really? This topic isn't even worthy of consideration. I hate that people try to bring garbage like this up. Are we not already paying enough to the airlines while having perks stripped away one by one without having to subsidize their staff?

    1. Max Guest

      As a tourist to the US I now also demand to be tipped for creating an affluent multicultural atmosphere and my presence making the country light up with beauty.

  31. crosscourt Guest

    What a load of nonsense to even raise this matter. And I don't think I have ever come across a flight attendant on a US carrier that deserves a tip.

  32. NYGuy24 Gold

    Too much tipping in this country already. Not sure why people feel the need to tip everywhere. Employers should be paying a living wage end of story. The worst is when Americans go to countries that don't have tipping and insist on tipping even though it isn't part of the culture. The arrogance.

    1. chasgoose Guest

      I agree that employers should be paid a living wage, but in most states they are legally allowed to pass that burden onto customers. Tipping is annoying, but the way I look at it from a cost perspective to the customer it shouldn’t really make a difference. If employers had to pay employees a living wage they would pass that price on to the consumer anyways by raising prices 15-20% across the board, which is...

      I agree that employers should be paid a living wage, but in most states they are legally allowed to pass that burden onto customers. Tipping is annoying, but the way I look at it from a cost perspective to the customer it shouldn’t really make a difference. If employers had to pay employees a living wage they would pass that price on to the consumer anyways by raising prices 15-20% across the board, which is what we should be tipping until that happens.

      It’s kind of like resort fees. Just like resorts use fees to make the sticker price look lower than what your stay actually costs, tipping allows restaurants have lower menu prices than what you should be paying. If resorts were no longer allowed to use resort fees, people would still end up paying just as much as they would when hotels were allowed to use resort fees, except that price would now be reflected in the quoted room rate at booking. If we got rid of tipping, menu prices would just go up by 20% or so across the board.

    2. Alonzo Diamond

      Define "living wage" without starting your sentence with, "it depends". Chipotle crew members start at 37k per year plus bonuses, insurance & tuition reimbursement. Is that a living wage?

  33. Miamiorbust Guest

    Your comment that service is more attentive in US than EU is generally true but attentive and good are not equivalent. In general, quality as measured by receiving what is needed to have an enjoyable meal (ie order is correct, feedback is helpful and behavior is respectful) is poor in the US and below many other countries. Btw, Europe is a big place so might not want to generalize so broadly. Furthermore, countries without a...

    Your comment that service is more attentive in US than EU is generally true but attentive and good are not equivalent. In general, quality as measured by receiving what is needed to have an enjoyable meal (ie order is correct, feedback is helpful and behavior is respectful) is poor in the US and below many other countries. Btw, Europe is a big place so might not want to generalize so broadly. Furthermore, countries without a tipping culture often have more self-service or limited service options. Tipping culture is about corporate greed. US servers are there to upsell given tip is a percent of bill in nearly all settings. Think they really truly believe $20 option is better than $12? Anyone arguing for tipping is promoting indentured service to upsell/shill for corporate masters. Kinda like authors of this blog. Tip bloggers now!

    1. Alan Guest

      Agree re quality vs attentiveness. I also can't understand the concept of tipping before you've even received the service - I can think of a few occasions recently (burger place in NYC, airport shuttle) where you were encouraged to tip up front. The service was rubbish in both cases, so glad (unlike a few others before me) I didn't tip as the service was in no way worth anything extra!

  34. Mango Guest

    Service in restaurants in the United States is generally much more attentive than in Europe——-
    Maybe not true in some case…
    And in Japan the service level is record high without a cent of tipping lol

  35. beachmouse Member

    As someone who doesn’t drink alcohol, I’ll admit to be having issues with being asked to tip $2 for a ‘complimentary’ soda from a Sky Club bartender when that’s about what I’d pay for a Coke from a vending machine down the concourse.

  36. WorldTravelerPlus Guest

    I had a really good experience with the flight attendant in a British Airways Club World flight. She made me feel like a guest, not a passenger, so I looked up the British Airways staff compliments webform and filled it out. I'm sure other airlines have a similar compliments webform you can fill out.

  37. Dealgrabber Guest

    Tipping culture in america is getting worst year by year. Next lets tip flight attendants, baggage handlers, ticket counter staff, apartment leasing staff, apartment maintenance staff, electrician, home builder and its staff etc. basically just tip everyone who you meet in a day. My european friends always tell me that americans are addicted to tips. They hate it when americans go to europe and tip the restaurant staff there

    1. NYGuy24 Gold

      No kidding the service charges are priced in to the food prices there already. It is soo bad some waiters are now expecting tips in places like Paris when the French are not even a tipping culture. Some Americans are just too frickin lazy to learn about the cultures in the countries they are visiting and insist on exporting their own customs.

  38. Eskimo Guest

    Does this have anything to do about Elon Musk pulling "just the tip" on his private jet?

  39. GBOAC Diamond

    The Frontier example if totally BS (Beyond Sense). Why should a FA get additional compensation for serving you a drink that costs as opposed to one that doesn't. Also does anyone know for sure the tip goes to the specific FA or it just aggregated among the crew or all crews???

  40. David Diamond

    And yet, somehow so many Asian countries are capable of providing great service without tipping. You just get charged a 10% service charge, and you get great service in return.

    Somehow that's a completely unreasonable and foreign concept to Americans.

    1. chasgoose Guest

      That’s because in the US tipped employees are paid less than minimum wage…

    2. David Diamond

      I know that. So do away with the tipping, increase their wage and increase menu item prices if necessary. Saying tipping is necessary for good service is ridiculous.

    3. chasgoose Guest

      I agree, but until we change the laws that allow restaurants to pay tipped workers less than minimum wage we are stuck with it.

    4. Lea Guest

      Not big chain hôtel employee. The law let the corporate get away with those, but why common people has to deal and foot the bill. Like citizen has to.foot the wat fee despite not agreeing to it.

  41. West Coast Flyer Guest

    If you tip flight attendants, you should also trespass down to the tarmac and give cash tips to all the baggage handlers.

  42. Robert Guest

    We tip restaurant servers in US because they are paid minimum wage or worst and need tips to survive. We are more or less EXPECTED to tip at restaurants regardless the service (20%+ for decent service, probably 10% minimum if you really want to send a msg for bad service). So I really don’t see the point of tipping flight attendants unless you are telling me they are paid minimum wage and need tips to survive.

    1. Alonzo Diamond

      We tip restaurant servers because that's what we are told to do. Today it's 20%. Five years from now will be 22%. As a former restaurant server myself, I made 55k back in 2010 in NYC and lived quite a nice life. Please stop putting his tipping culture nonsense on living wage. It's complete BS and lies. If you feel so bad for your restaurant server, slip them $100 in cash.

  43. chasgoose Guest

    The union is right. Encouraging customers to tip usually suggests that Frontier isn’t paying their employees enough. The US would be a lot better if employers in the service industry weren’t able to pay their employees less by making them rely on tips. They should just pay the employees more and pass the cost onto the consumer so the employees get paid what they deserve.

    Too many people who live in/visit the US think...

    The union is right. Encouraging customers to tip usually suggests that Frontier isn’t paying their employees enough. The US would be a lot better if employers in the service industry weren’t able to pay their employees less by making them rely on tips. They should just pay the employees more and pass the cost onto the consumer so the employees get paid what they deserve.

    Too many people who live in/visit the US think tipping is optional and should be tied to service quality. In most states, really anything less than 18-20% is ripping off the employee unless they wildly screw up (like to the point where even a non-confrontational person would get a manager involved. Getting rid of tipping (or at least adding a mandatory 18-20% gratuity for all parties, as has been happening more and more in higher end restaurants) by increasing customer costs to cover proper wages for tipped employees would be a win win. Employees get paid what they deserve and people know what the real cost of their meal is. A lot of people who come from countries where tipping isn’t widespread or who are just anti-tipping in general don’t realize that in most of the US, not tipping 18-20% means they are essentially not paying what they actually owe for their meal.

    1. NYGuy24 Gold

      "don’t realize that in most of the US, not tipping 18-20% means they are essentially not paying what they actually owe for their meal." You OWE what the bill says. Tipping is customary but lets not try to claim you are not paying what you owe if you don't leave at least an 18% tip.

    2. chasgoose Guest

      The price on the bill does not properly compensate tipped employees in most states and by not tipping you are ripping off employees who are getting paid less than minimum wage. If we got rid of tipping in the US, prices at restaurants and similar would probably go up by about 15-20% because employers would have to pay their employees more. In most of the US, if you don’t tip tipped employees you are saying...

      The price on the bill does not properly compensate tipped employees in most states and by not tipping you are ripping off employees who are getting paid less than minimum wage. If we got rid of tipping in the US, prices at restaurants and similar would probably go up by about 15-20% because employers would have to pay their employees more. In most of the US, if you don’t tip tipped employees you are saying you are OK with them being paid less than minimum wage and essentially stealing from them.

      This is one of the main reasons why we need to end tips in the US. People think that tipping is optional here when it really isn’t. Sure, restaurants are supposed to make up the difference between the tipped minimum wage and the actual minimum wage if tips don’t, but most of them get around that rule easily. Until the laws require all restaurant employees to be paid at least minimum wage, if you don’t want to tip, don’t go out to eat in the US or go to the increasing number of (mostly high end restaurants) that don’t do tipping because they have increased their prices enough to pair their workers what they deserve. Funnily enough, when restaurants in the US make the switch to a non-tipped model, typically you see prices increase by about 15-20% across the board…

    3. Lai Guest

      How come you are not paying what you owe? Typical food cost in the US is supposedly maxed out at 25-30% of what you paid for, minus the taxes. If the owner can't pay decent wages, it is not customer responsibility to foot their greed esp big corporate and franchises.

    4. Al Guest

      Sorry but that's just rubbish. If they need 20% more then pay them that and adjust your prices to make it transparent. US prices are already sky high without this. I also noticed lots of job ads at $16+/hr for jobs requiring no qualifications which is well above minimum wage.

    5. chasgoose Guest

      I agree, but in most states, restaurant owners are legally allowed to pay less than minimum wage for tipped employees (they are supposed to cover the difference if the tipped employees still take home less than minimum wage net, but there are ways around that). There have been attempts to get rid of the lower tipped minimum wage loophole, but the powerful restaurant lobby (and we aren't talking local small businesses, we are talking like...

      I agree, but in most states, restaurant owners are legally allowed to pay less than minimum wage for tipped employees (they are supposed to cover the difference if the tipped employees still take home less than minimum wage net, but there are ways around that). There have been attempts to get rid of the lower tipped minimum wage loophole, but the powerful restaurant lobby (and we aren't talking local small businesses, we are talking like massive nationwide chains like Olive Garden or Red Lobster or Applebees) fight tooth and nail to prevent that from happening.

      The point is that it isn't the employee's fault that their employers are allowed to pay them less or that massive corporate interests are fighting against changing that. They deserve to be paid for the work that they did and if restaurants aren't going to do the right thing it's up to us as the consumers to do so. If you are OK with restaurants raising prices by 20% to get rid of tipping and pay employees what they deserve, then its functionally no different to just add 20% to your bill as a tip, even if the concept of tipping itself is annoying. The bad behavior of employers doesn't mean we as consumers get an excuse to do the same thing.

    6. Gaurav Community Ambassador

      It's not just the corporate restaurants. A vocal segment of waitstaff also oppose getting rid of tipping because they make outsize amounts which are also sometimes untaxed.

    7. chasgoose Guest

      Yeah but they don’t have the money to hire wealthy lobbyists to keep tipping culture in the US as it is.

  44. Norita Guest

    Aren’t flight attendants primarily there for our safety?

  45. brianna hoffner Member

    Dang, two days in a row with posts about tipping. You ok?

  46. Razzak Memon Guest

    American Airlines Only: I often give AA flight attendants a 8x10 signed picture of myself with a Victoria Secret Gift card and they really do remember me. I also give starbucks gift cards to check in staff so they remember to upgrade me especially when I am traveling in Asian countries. I am sure these practices helped me attain CK status and if George Clooney saw me he would be jealous of my success.

  47. Chris Guest

    The last thing I want in restaurants is more "attentive" American service. I don't need to know your name, I don't want you to upsell me, I don't need you to sit next to me while I'm ordering, ask me every few minutes if I'm "still working on that," run an opinion poll on "how everything is tasting," or any of the other nonsense gestures that are supposed to translate into a bigger tip. Flight...

    The last thing I want in restaurants is more "attentive" American service. I don't need to know your name, I don't want you to upsell me, I don't need you to sit next to me while I'm ordering, ask me every few minutes if I'm "still working on that," run an opinion poll on "how everything is tasting," or any of the other nonsense gestures that are supposed to translate into a bigger tip. Flight attendants - the ones that do their jobs - do just fine without needing to perform for additional tips.

    1. chasgoose Guest

      The reason that happens in the US, is that unlike countries without tipping culture, restaurants in most states are allowed to pay tipped employees less than minimum wage. In countries that don’t do tipping, eating out ends up costing more because employers end up passing on the cost of additional wages onto the consumer. Restaurant owners in the US don’t want to get rid of tipping because it would force them to increase their prices...

      The reason that happens in the US, is that unlike countries without tipping culture, restaurants in most states are allowed to pay tipped employees less than minimum wage. In countries that don’t do tipping, eating out ends up costing more because employers end up passing on the cost of additional wages onto the consumer. Restaurant owners in the US don’t want to get rid of tipping because it would force them to increase their prices (even though that was what customers should have been paying in the first place).

  48. Icarus Guest

    This is unbelievably ridiculous to even think you should tip airline crew. Only in America.

    1. Peter Guest

      Only Americans would think about tipping on a plane.

    2. Pauls98 Member

      My cousin is a FA for Southwest. She has said for years a tip of 5 or 10 bucks gets you free drinks and great service. When flying up front domestically or internationally, I often bring the FAs a bag of Hershey Kisses or Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. They are always appreciative, and if on JAL, they usually bring me a small gift in return which is very sweet and kind.

    3. Icarus Guest

      Why should you pay her for doing her job ? ! I can imagine what she does for $100. So if you don’t tip her she doesn’t give good service? In other cultures it’s called a bribe.

    4. Robert Guest

      That’s not tipping, that’s gift exchange lol!

    5. Alinsfca Guest

      Can’t you even see the difference between what you did on JAL vs what tipping is in America restaurants?
      In America we tip waiters because we “think” you are making way less money than you “think” you should or you deserve. That’s is pity, to say it in a mean way.
      Gifting little gifts to JAL flight attendants is telling them you are thinking them and thanking them. And that is respect.
      No wonder we have such screw tipping culture here.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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NYGuy24 Gold

Too much tipping in this country already. Not sure why people feel the need to tip everywhere. Employers should be paying a living wage end of story. The worst is when Americans go to countries that don't have tipping and insist on tipping even though it isn't part of the culture. The arrogance.

6
Dealgrabber Guest

Tipping culture in america is getting worst year by year. Next lets tip flight attendants, baggage handlers, ticket counter staff, apartment leasing staff, apartment maintenance staff, electrician, home builder and its staff etc. basically just tip everyone who you meet in a day. My european friends always tell me that americans are addicted to tips. They hate it when americans go to europe and tip the restaurant staff there

6
Creditcrunch Diamond

Please this tipping culture in the US is getting out of control, I am currently on holiday in San Francisco and even the guy at the farmers market I bought some fresh fruit from when he passed me the card reader prompted me to use the “pen” to select pre selected tip amounts or select no tip. I selected no tip and hot footed it away but our US friends need to end the culture, it’s really putting me off from coming back. Ps sort out these resort fees too!

5
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