Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

Would You Give Chocolates to Members of the Flight Crew as a Gift?

Kind gesture — or creepy and suspicious?

You are a passenger aboard an airplane, regardless of which cabin in which you are seated. On a long flight — perhaps during a transoceanic journey — you receive good service from members of the flight crew. The airplane has landed safely; and the conclusion of the flight occurs once the airplane is at the gate and the boarding door has opened for passengers to leave.

Would You Give Chocolates to Members of the Flight Crew as a Gift?

Would you give chocolates — or, perhaps, another sort of gift — to members of the flight crew? If so, for what reasons would you do so?

A debate has been occurring in this discussion on FlyerTalk — and the consensus has generally been divided. Some members of FlyerTalk think nothing of treating members of the flight crew to a sweet treat of chocolates; while others opined that the gesture is tacky and creepy at best.

Some members of FlyerTalk believe that certain people give chocolates or other gifts to members of the flight crew with hopes of receiving some sort of preferential treatment in return — perhaps better service, a few more drinks or snacks, or even an upgrade to a better seat aboard the airplane. Could members of the flight crew view such a token of appreciation as suspicious — and, perhaps, even misconstrue it as a form of bribery?

Could giving chocolates or some other form of gift be taken as a gratuity of sorts, which is not usually given to members of the flight crew?

Might members of the flight crew be in danger by accepting — and consuming — a gift from a passenger whom they do not know? FlyerTalk member kabroui wrote, “Even if the box was sealed, a crazy with a hypo needle could do something really nasty so if I were an FA, I’d never eat anything given to me by a stranger, even in a sealed box.”

This topic is not a new one on FlyerTalk, as evidenced by the following discussions:

Final Boarding Call

If I were a passenger on the same flight every week which was serviced by the same members of the flight crew — and therefore, we were able to get to know each other a little better as a result — then I would consider occasionally giving them chocolates or some other gift.

I can even understand if a member of the flight crew went out of his or her way to go significantly beyond what is expected of his or her service and the passengers feel that a gift of sorts is warranted in appreciation.

Otherwise, I treat every member of the flight crew aboard every airplane on which I am a passenger with courtesy, politeness, and respect — I always say “please” and “thank you” to them — something which some passengers do not do but should do. I do not believe a gift is warranted to anyone who simply serves within the scope of his or her job for which he or she gets paid.

Please post your thoughts and experiences on this topic in the Comments section below.

Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

  1. Nope. They are doing their job for which they are paid a salary… doing it well means they deserve their paycheck… offering tips in the form of goodies or cash is tacky.

    I have worked in the service industry in the past and I always found it creepy when my customers would offer me gifts – regardless of the value or item.

    Tipping service personnel in a standard tip-based profession – absolutely! Giving chocolates, treats, or goodies to salaried staff is just weird.

  2. I work in hospitality (at a four star hotel) and it is not uncommon for fellow hospitality persons to bring a small gift to the flight crew or front desk at a hotel a box of candy or similar at check in or when boarding. I have brought a box of donuts to the front desk when checking in, had pizzas delivered to the valet team and gifted the hotel concierge (in addition to a tip) with a box of locally made chocolates from my hometown. It shows my appreciation for all they do to make guests’ experiences positive, and as a thank you for an oftentimes “thankless” job—so many passengers and guests can act so entitled these days. I also write “thank you” on note paper each day when leaving a tip for the hotel housekeeper.

    At the hotel, I’ve also had guests buy the entire front office team a box of pastries, candy, etc during or at the end of their stay as a thank you to the team for making their stay enjoyable.

    These kind gestures are not weird or creepy, especially considering all of the abuse flight attendants have had to endure these last few years. It’s nice to hear that there are still some people in this world who were raised right and behave with grace and kindness. Maybe if people had not become so jaded and hardened, they would think being gracious and kind is creepy and weird.

  3. nice post. favors are always appreciated.

    minor correction. you need to use ~~were~~. subjunctive tense.

    “If I ~~was~~ a passenger on the same flight every week which was serviced by the same members of the flight crew — …”

    1. Indeed! Most people seem to have missed that rule. Subjunctive mood or wishful comments, such as, If I were a king, or if it were Saturday take special forms of verbs.
      I wish it were not so.

  4. No, I wouldn’t do so. And I would certainly hope that FAs are trained not to consume food and drink provided by passengers, as they do not know what is in them or what someone’s motives are.

    As a passenger, I would be extremely concerned being on a flight where the flight attendants (or, worse, pilots) had consumed something a passenger had brought on board. They could be laced with sedatives, date-rape drugs, or even worse. That affects not just the individual consuming the food/drink, but every single passenger on board. It’s a serious safety and security issue.

    For those saying that I’m jaded – well, maybe, but would you apply the same logic to security checks at airports? Most people are good, well-meaning people, so why bother with the metal detectors and x-ray machines? Yes, it would be lovely if the world was a better place, but…

    The example of someone working in a hotel is a very different situation. Hotel guests’ safety does not depend on staff’s ability to function properly (at least, not nearly to the same degree) and they’re not in a metal tube 30,000 feet over an ocean. Most hotels are not terrorist targets, either.

  5. I’m ashamed to admit it but I once was acting like a big horses a$$ due to a flight cancelation. I was pretty upset and was not particularly nice to the the GA? Supervisor? who came on the plane to deliver the news.
    I came back to the airport the next day to continue my flight and fortunately the same person was there. I gave them a Starbucks card as a form of apology. Different from a “chocolate tip” but in the same vain I would think.

  6. I wouldn’t give chocolates. They might think I am a weirdo. Service people like money. If it’s an airline crew, maybe a gift card or Starbuck’s card because I don’t think they are allowed to accept cash.

    Once on Singapore Airlines, near the end of the flight, I went back to the galley and they said to eat as many donuts as I wanted because they have to throw it out at the end of the flight. This was on an Airbus A340-500 flying non-stop to the U.S. That leads me to believe that the crew doesn’t really want passengers to given them donuts (or maybe even chocolates).

    1. I thanked them for the unlimited number of donuts but said I was not a policeman. They got the joke and laughed loudly!

  7. On international long haul I always give a $5.00 Starbucks gift card and a big bag of candy. I’m always in paid first so I’m not looking for anything in return. Just a nice gesture to the hard working crew.

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