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How do you tip airline employees or appreciate them for extraordinary service?
If you really want to, buy a box of chocolates or something shareable from duty free and hand it to the crew during boarding or deplaning.
You could also send an email to the airline with specific flight information and your comments.
Cash tips only, nowadays. Have a bunch of 20, 50 and why not also a couple 100 dollar bills per flight segment ready, especially if in premium cabins flying internationally.
Oh, I try not to carry too much cash nowadays. Most places in the US take credit cards. And when flying internationally, US cash isnt as useful. I like using my Schwab account with withdraw local currency when necessary. Besides, using credit card = more points!
And on some airlines the crew is not allowed to accept cash.
I took something as simple as a baggie of Hershey’s miniatures and Jolly Ranchers on a longhaul flight operated by a US-based airline. The crew was delighted and quite appreciative.
I have heard that can be a cultural difference, however. I’ve read that some crews might be offended. Don’t know if that’s true or not.