Should you buy candy and chocolate for the flight attendants on your next flight?

A debate is currently raging over a popular loyalty bulletin board and he managed to divide opinion even more than usual. The question, asked by a regular traveler between the United States and the United Kingdom, was relatively simple: should he buy sweets or chocolates for the flight attendants?

As a flight attendant myself, I know exactly how I would answer that: Absolutely, yes. I love sweets and if someone wants to offer me chocolate, I’m not going to refuse it.

But, it turns out that many frequent flyers and even some flight attendants find the idea of ​​passengers showing up at the plane door with candy goodies a little “scary.”

In fact, the biggest concern shared by frequent flyers was that it could be perceived as bribery. This could certainly be the case if you’re sitting in economy class on a basement carry-on fare and fancy getting ‘shoved’ into a fancier seat.

I have certainly encountered this kind of situation myself. A passenger shows up with cheap candy and expects an upgrade. Most flight attendants, however, aren’t that easy to buy.

The problem is that not only are free upgrades strictly against the rules (which could then get a flight attendant in big trouble), but you’re actually scamming an airline out of the money they should be making selling a business class ticket.

So while you can strike gold and get upgraded in exchange for a few candy bars, it’s a long shot at best.

So the other question is whether you are signaling that you want preferential treatment. A free drink maybe or some extra food. But do the math… You’ll probably spend more money on freebies than you’ll save on a free bottle of cheap wine given back by a flight attendant.

So what could be your motivation for gifting your flight attendant chocolate or, in some cases, Starbucks gift cards? Well, if you just want to do a nice gesture and go for it without expecting anything in return, then I’ll gladly accept your gift (as the vast majority of flight attendants would).

It’s a nice gesture that most flight attendants really appreciate. And don’t worry, we won’t start waiting for it.

If, however, you are hoping to gain something in return, then of course go for it. Just be ready for a setback.

Oh, and if you’re an airline employee traveling on a discounted ticket, then yes, please spend some of the money you’ve saved on treats for your flight attendants.

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Mateusz Maszczynski


Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the Middle East’s most important airline and flew throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centered stories. Always on the cutting edge, Matt’s knowledge, analysis and news coverage are often used by some of the biggest names in journalism.

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