No one would exactly call flying a low-stress experience, but at least you don’t have to deal with figuring out how much to tip. For Frontier Airlines passengers, that’s about to change. Flight attendants on the budget airline have started accepting individual tips as of January 1. Passengers will now see a message that “gratuities are appreciated” after paying for snacks or drinks, along with an option to tip 15, 20, or 25 percent.
Most airlines do not allow their flight attendants to accept tips. George Hobica, travel expert and founder of Airfarewatchdog.com, told CNBC that historically, “It was considered inappropriate and undignified and most airlines forbade tipping or soliciting tipping…Most cabin crew would far prefer that a passenger write a letter of commendation to the airline to reward excellent service.” He also expresses concern that tipping will cause passengers to view flight attendants as “servants,” not as people who could save their lives in an emergency. Everything that flight attendants are responsible for — from assisting with babies to performing CPR — makes them an invaluable part of the crew and far from servants.
The Association of Flight Attendants International actually opposes the new tipping policy, believing instead that airlines should pay their flight attendants more. They believe the tipping measure has been introduced to dissuade flight attendants from coming together to demand fair compensation. And after seeing what it’s really like to be a flight attendant, you’d be asking for fair compensation as well. Of course, how much you choose to tip on Frontier, or whether you tip at all, is entirely up to you.