Thanking Airline Employees Will Brighten Their Days

D uring a recent flight, a member of the flight crew was joking around with a colleague as they were serving beverages and small packets of snacks to passengers — and yes, good ol’ introverted me just jumped right in there and joked with them from my seat.

By the way, I am being serious when I say I have some tendencies to be introverted — but I digress, as usual.

Thanking Airline Employees Will Brighten Their Days

Anyway, the conversation turned towards the interaction members of the flight crew have with passengers. Although one of them was smiling, I could tell that sometimes those interactions can be serious in a negative way — especially with the spate of the viral videos in recent months.

After receiving my orange juice with no ice and the small packet of snacks, I thanked her — and then I said to her how I appreciate all of the weeks of training and years of experience she has invested to ensure that the flight is as pleasant for me as possible.

With her huge smile, I could swear that I noticed a tear briefly welling up in her eye. She then promptly gave me another small packet of snacks without saying anything, probably choked up for a brief moment.


Some people show their appreciation by giving out gift cards or chocolates; but although that is a nice gesture, it is really not necessary. A simple gesture is usually all that is needed.

Members of the flight crew, gate agents and other employees work so hard to ensure that our travels are as successful as possible. Sure, there are rogue individuals who ruin the experience and give airline employees in general a bad name — and perhaps they should not be working in the industry — but they are thankfully few and far between.

The next time you travel, please take a moment to sincerely thank a gate agent or a member of the flight crew — or any airline employee with whom you interact. Let them know with a smile and a few brief words that you appreciate their efforts.

You will most likely really brighten their days.

Photograph ©2007 by Brian Cohen.

5 thoughts on “Thanking Airline Employees Will Brighten Their Days”

  1. Cipta says:

    Oh dear…. you make her cry in the middle of her job….
    Ups! An extra snack! Yay!

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I was not absolutely sure that I made her cry, Cipta — but I can tell you one thing for certain:

      I was not exactly crazy about that snack…

  2. Dennis Palmieri says:

    I generally thank the FAs on my way out the door with “really great flight today,” or some such. But only when it’s merrited. Im usually up front, so the flight is usually nice. I don’t think it’s necessary to go out of my way thank people for showing up and just doing their jobs. I sympathize with what they have to go thru with many unreasonable customers; I also sympathize with many customers who have to go through hell with unreasonable FAs. You know what would be nice? If an FA thanked me a little more often for paying for first class tickets (every month) and helping to support their employment–the only time that ever happens is in a blanket announcement over the PA. Food for thought?

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      There is only one part with which I disagree in terms of what you wrote, Dennis Palmieri — and that is the part about going out of your way.

      A simple gesture of appreciation takes a couple of seconds at most. Many people will appreciate it. Some will not…

      …but as you correctly point out, that gesture of appreciation does work both ways.

  3. Cipta says:

    @Dennis Palmieri: try asian airlines. Their FA is more warm than those in american airlines or maybe even european airlines.

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