Your flight attendant hustles hard to keep you safe in the sky, often receiving no thanks. These men and women could use a little love for all they do, so we asked a handful of flight attendants what it would take to make their day. Their answers varied, but almost all could agree on one surefire way to win them over:
Bringing treats is the easiest way to get on your flight attendant’s good side, hands down. And you’ll be surprised at what they do for you in return.
“I once received a sweet gift sack for each of us,” said Kim Baumann, a flight attendant with American Airlines. “It had a Starbucks card, hand sanitizer, a granola bar and gum. It was so cute! Flight attendants are simple people, and the little thought of kindness goes a long way for us.”
Katie Taylor, a flight attendant with Delta Air Lines, agrees.
“My day is always made when passengers come on with coffee for the crew. Everyone knows how gross airplane coffee is, so it’s such a treat,” she said.
Other cabin crew say they dream of getting candy or pastries (store-bought and wrapped, please). Healthy snacks are great if you like to plan ahead, but even a Big Mac purchased in the terminal will win them over instantly.
“I saw Snapchats once that a passenger brought [my colleagues] McDonald’s burgers,” Baumann said. “They were all freaking out about how nice it was.”
Oh, and your act of kindness will NOT go unrewarded. If gifted food or treats, flight attendants generally repay the favor with free food and alcohol.
“I told my friends to bring chocolate with them on an international flight, and they got first-class wine brought to them in coach, in real wine glasses,” Baumann said.
Lizzy Elder, another Delta flight attendant, has a similar reaction. When graced with treats, “my initial response is to spoil that passenger with free drinks, free headsets, a bag of extra cookies to take with them, etc. It goes rewarded on my flight.”
Of course, flight attendants will give you tip-top service even if you don’t bring goodies onboard: It’s their job.
If you want to make a flight attendant’s day for free, write a heartfelt thank-you note. A simple smile works too.
“Say hello during boarding, or at the least acknowledge the ‘hello’ from the flight attendant,” says Abbie Unger, a former flight attendant for several major airlines. “You wouldn’t believe how seldom we receive a smile and a ‘good morning’ from passengers.”
Sounds easy enough. Thanks, flight attendants, for all that you do!