DENVER (CBS4) — They take your order, serve up food and drinks, and come back to clean up. But should you tip your flight attendant? Frontier Airlines is encouraging it.

Flight attendants on the Denver-based airline began accepting individual tips on Jan. 1, according to the Chicago Tribune. Frontier made tipping an option three years ago but, until this year, flight attendants were required to pool tips.

“We appreciate the great work of our flight attendants and know that our customers do as well, so [the payment system] gives passengers the option to tip,” the Tribune quoted Frontier spokesman Jonathan Freed as stating.

Passengers who order refreshments get a prompt from Frontier’s payment system that they have the option to leave a tip.

JT Genter, of ThePoints Guy travel blog, shared a photo of the payment tablet displaying a message that reads, “Gratuities Are Appreciated!” It offers customers the options of 15 percent, 20 percent or 25 percent, “custom gratuity” and “I prefer not to leave a gratuity.”

(credit: RUBEN RAMOS iStock Editorial / Getty Images Plus)

“I’ve flown more than 350 flights on 51 different airlines in the past three years, but I’d never experienced an airline ask for a tip,” Genter wrote.

Genter expressed mixed feelings about tipping flight attendants.

“It feels a bit unprofessional for flight attendants to be seeking tips,” he wrote. But he conceded that it might motivate crew members to provide better service.

Some flight attendants and labor unions are reportedly opposed to the tipping policy.

“The Association of Flight Attendants International, a union that represents 50,000 flight attendants at 20 airlines including Frontier, opposes the tipping policy, saying attendants should instead be paid higher wages,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

Frontier Airlines Pilots Overwhelmingly Approve Contract

“Management moved forward with a tipping option for passengers in hopes it would dissuade flight attendants from standing together for a fair contract — and in an effort to shift additional costs to passengers,” the Tribune quoted AFA President Sara Nelson as stating.

The median annual salary for a flight attendant in 2017 was around $50,500, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Industry experts say no other U.S. carrier gives passengers the ability to tip flight attendants, and they don’t expect other airlines to follow Frontier’s lead,” the Times reported.


Comments (73)
  1. Chuck Noland says:

    Yeah No. Bad idea.

  2. Thomas Port says:

    Just another way to cut costs – pass what is essentially airline overhead on to customers.

    1. Plarp Zootie says:

      This is Capitalism at it’s best.

      Good service should be rewarded.

      1. Amaya Stevens says:

        Yes it should. It should be rewarded by the company or corporation that the person providing good service works for.

  3. Mike Houck says:

    Tip the pilot for a safe landing.

  4. Peter York says:

    hmmm. I remember when lawyers didn’t advertise. things change, and not always for the better.

  5. Russ Tibbitts says:

    Because flying isn’t stressful enough.

  6. Bruce Clarke says:

    Tipping is a way for people making a minimum wage in a restaurant or similar to earn a livable wage. At the prices airlines charge they should be able to pay the flight attendants a decent salary. Should we tip the mechanics and the pilots too?

  7. Chris Clements says:

    Sorry, I don’t think so. Nor will I be flying with your “coke and peanuts” airline!

  8. Jeanne Prokop King says:

    Not surprised. This airline already nickle and dimes you with all the stuff you used to be able to expect – seat assignment, charge for carry on, etc
    BE WARNED – You get what you pay for with this budget carrier

  9. Frank Johnson says:

    When airlines return to hiring cute young ladies i might begin to tip.

  10. Yes, I’m going to start tipping my airline flight attendants… not for the food service, but for the tremendous amount of time and energy they expend preparing themselves to save us in the event of an in-flight emergency… a truly unappreciated part of their most important jobs. And you’re talkin’ to a guy who has flown frequently since 1979 and seen the deterioration of airline service over the years.

    1. Doreen Self says:

      all these Barbie and kent dolls come to life are soooo over worked NO! TIPPING!

  11. Doug Day says:

    Now wait a minute, I remember one nearly empty long haul redeye where I should have tipped!

  12. Walter Pavloff says:

    Just like the “good old” days, when flight attendants were younger and had enough energy to party into the night. So I’ve heard, only second maybe third hand knowledge. Besides im married my “tips” are accounted for.

  13. Doug Oritz says:

    I used all my spare cash to tip the TSA agent for the pleasurable groping.

  14. John Medendorp says:

    Add six inches to my seat and I will consider tipping.

  15. Tell the Flight Attendants to hold out both hands, then spit in one and see which fills up first.

  16. Gregory Stiel says:

    I think its a great Idea! Don’t forget the ticket agent, gate agent, baggage handlers, Pilot and Co pilot. and if she takes off her clothes we can stuff dollar bills in her under ware.

  17. Jim Wolfson says:

    Then we want them to start paying for their airplane tickets like the rest of us.

  18. Susan Smith says:

    “They take your order, serve up food and drinks, and come back to clean up. ” On the ground they are called waiters and waitresses, in my state, they make about $2.50 an hour and work for the tips. If tipping becomes the thing for flying wait staff I have to wonder how long it will be before their wages are cut down to the ground level.

  19. Gary Thompson says:

    The airlines have gotten so cheap that their flight attendants need tips to survive? God, I miss PanAm!

  20. John Mattaboni says:

    Should I bring my own jet fuel, too?

  21. rememberingme says:

    Now you’re reducing airline professionals to mere waiters and waitresses. Not cool.

  22. Susan Messenger says:

    As a former Flight Attendant, I advise them to get another job…………..

  23. They come back to clean up? Well, I’ll be happy to just drop the trash on the floor if it’s a burden to them.

  24. Jeff Martel says:

    Maybe we could jam in a baby grand and make it classy up there, maybe bring back smoking.

  25. Occasional-Cortex can work for Frontier after they laugh her out of congress. But found out she can’t remember how to make a gin and tonic.

    1. dochood says:

      Occasional-Cortex??? Thanks, you owe me a new laptop. I just spit milk all over mine!

  26. Dennis Germain says:

    and when hey strike up a very noisy conversation with the good looking guy behind you, so you can’t hear your headphones do you get money back

  27. David Anderson says:

    So you get lousy service on Frontier if you don’t tip after the first soda. Got it.

  28. Michael Henson says:

    I am obviously the one who disagrees with most but I think it is a great idea. I fly quite a bit and it really does make sense to tip a bit to someone who gives me that little extra service. I see nothing wrong with this setup as is. There would be a HUGE problem if they expected or demanded it but lets be real…. we all fly and we all have had horrid service and we all have seen that person who simply goes above and beyond. No, I am not a troll, Russian or other kind of hired poster.

  29. Max Suba says:

    Lets see. The planes are crowded and dirty. You have to pay for snacks now. The bathrooms are getting smaller along with the seat size. You have to pay for a seat closer to the front of the plane in coach. Now the loser airborne waiters AKA flight attendants want to be tipped for giving you half a can of coke? Not a change.

  30. Paul Anders says:

    When the airlines treat ME with dignity, I’ll think about it…

  31. Dan Birchak says:

    Has it been that long ago that we have forgotten what good/full airline service was? How much can slinging two 1 ounce bags of peanuts and 6 ounces of Coke in a 3 hour flight be worth? Next they’ll say we should tip TSA for being half-undressed and frisked before we board the over-crowded airplane.

  32. Good idea to tip the attendants. If you can afford you can certainly afford a few dollars for good service. Republicans will be good tippers but the democrats will not tip. Democrats are to cheap and would rather spend someone else’s money, not their own.

  33. Carl Neels says:

    Since flight attendants are primarily there as required by government regulations to insure order and to handle emergencies, why should they be tipped anymore than a school guard should be tipped for helping kids across the street. Also, I think it would be demeaning to a professional flight attendant.

  34. Roger Over says:

    When you thought that scheduled carriers could not stoop much lower, …

  35. Herb Rapoza says:

    When an airline tips me for buying a ticket I’ll reciprocate.

  36. Walter Sabo says:

    “The flight attendant’s primary job is your safety” they say on every flight. How does tipping work on that?

  37. Chris Richards says:

    What I do is I take a napkin and I write “TIP: Dont eat yellow snow.” and give it to the lady.

  38. Mark Eightythree says:

    sheezzz – tip ’em a buck and get over it.

  39. Of course the unions are against any flow of money they can’t control

  40. Benjamin Dover says:

    Great idea! Think I’m going to start adding a 15% tip to all my customer invoices for above and beyond service.
    I know that they all will want to pay that amount!

  41. How about instead of saying “Frontier” proposes this, they post the names and faces of the VPs, Directors, Managers – the idiots at these companies that proposed, supported, and intend on implementing these idiotic ideas. I wonder how they’d feel when the company name they are hiding behind is removed.

  42. Bob Johnson says:

    OH really? Where is it I go that I pay to get a set menu of food I didn’t ask for or a drink that I didn’t really want even if it IS available on a flight in the first place. THIS really only applies to coast to coast flights.

    I often hear how America should mimic Europe and IF ever there was anything we could mimic from other countries it would be to mimic their airline service. I used to fly from Gatwick to Paris, Rome, Geneva in REAL “overseas” type Business seats, on big airplanes, and get served a real meal with free drinks of any persuasion.

    Pleasssseeee, don’t now ask me to pay for shrink wrapped National chain restaurant fast food and expect a tip for delivering it to my ever shrinking seat. How else does the airline propose you get this food, other than by one of their onboard staff “serving” it to me…Hilarious hyperbole.

    PAY you flight attendants better.

  43. James P Degnan says:

    I’d love to but I can’t reach my wallet when my ass is crammed into a 16 inch wide seat and my knees are in my mouth.

  44. John Powledge says:

    $50,000 a year and they want to be tipped on top of it? The average flight attendant makes more than the average American. This is unseemly. Frontier, don’t expect to see me on one of your planes any time soon.

  45. The difference between flight attendants and waiters is flight attendants make good pay and waiters make peanuts.

  46. Jose Kruguer says:

    if no tip is received, no good service can be claimed, that is what happens with waiters and that will be the future with flight attendants

  47. Eric Nitzschke says:

    Ironic that the ‘cheapest’ carrier in the history of aviation is making this plea! Metal seats that don’t recline? Tray tables the size of my sons shoe? 8 dollars for a beer…..please! Shocking that Frontier is still in business. (Keep that ‘no-smoking’ sign lit tho…to remind passengers how old your planes are)….

  48. Robert Allen says:

    Do the Big tippers get the priority lane during an emergency evacuation?

  49. Rick Sander says:

    It is not my responsibility to pay a company’s employees. Period.

    Every company, all they do is look for ways to offset their costs to others, including their customer. Walmart expects the government to pay public benefits to their employees.

    Im also tired to companies with Billion Dollar Margins soliciting donations using various, on the spot shaming methods. ANY COMPANY, if you want to support a charity – give them money.

    Im sick of it.

  50. Kirk Eidman says:

    can I get a lap dance?

  51. Next we’ll be tipping bus drivers, the folks at the cleaners, the guys at the laundromat, the girl in the doctor’s office …

  52. Michael Wolfe says:

    They complain when I call them sky-waitresses/waiters; so why treat them as such.

  53. Bob Pisani says:

    Here’s tip…I won’t tip. I get better service at Chick-fil-A than I ever get on a domestic airline.

  54. The Airline should tip me for buying a damn over-priced R/T fare.

  55. Janis Susan May says:

    I loathe Frontier airlines, will never fly them, and this new money grab doesn’t surprise me at all. Of course they want the customers to give the attendants money so they don’t have to pay as much. Tipping should be a reward for extraordinary service, not a ‘suggested’ or even expected action. It is the responsibility of the employer – be it cafe, airline or whatever – to pay their employees. They should not expect the customer – who has already paid a hefty price for their flight and probably been nickled and dimed to death over baggage and anything else the airline can think of – to supplement the attendants’ wages. It is a matter of principle.

  56. Eileen Finnin Hargrove says:

    There was a song out many years back call You ain’t nothing but a waitress in the sky. This seems to be making the case that is true.

  57. Jim Wolfson says:

    Start hiring good-looking young women again and we’ll consider it.
    And ease up on the poopushers.

  58. I’m not going to start tipping somewhere else. With the push to $15 in my own state I’ve cut back my tipping at restaurants to $1. I’m definitely not going to start tipping stewardess =, but if you want to go ahead.

  59. Tim Cogswell says:

    And all these years flight attendants complained that they were not bartenders!

  60. Kevros Kranz says:

    A tip for all flight attendants: Either protest your employer or look for a better job.

  61. Ricky Pucheu says:

    Here’s my tip to all of them. Brush your teeth after every meal.

  62. Mike Zorn says:

    ““We appreciate the great work of our flight attendants and know that our customers do as well”
    OK, then pay them more…..

  63. Mark Marsh says:

    How about NO. Meal and service on an airline is def NOT a tipp able service especially since airlines don’t offer squat in regard to service. Airlines are nothing more than Cattle haulers

  64. Terence Huffman says:

    Ain’t effing happening.

  65. Steven Bowen says:

    This is stupid. Yet another reason not to fly.

  66. Elise Faur says:

    Outrageous! The airline industry needs to pay their attendants a fair wage and not expect already over-charged customers to pick up the tab. Bad Idea