I’ve previously written about the hassle of air travel today affecting airline employees as well as passengers.
One way I show my appreciation for the hard work, smiles, and patience of gate agents and flight crews is by offering them a small gift of chocolate, a note of appreciation and words of thanks – always accompanied with a genuine smile and no expectations. (no, it’s not a bribe!)
(Is your flight crew or gate agent not smiling, friendly, or working hard? See tip #9 below!)
10 tips for offering chocolate or other appreciation gift to flight crews and gate agents:
- Only offer sealed chocolate or candy in original packaging.
- Select quality chocolate. (would you enjoy it?)
- Handwrite a note and keep it simple and genuine.
- Avoid wrapping it for airport security purposes.
- Do not offer it to them when they are busy. Use good judgement and wait for a quieter moment.
- Smile and make eye contact when offering the note and chocolate.
- Say something simple and appreciative. Example: Tell them you appreciate their hard work, smiles, and patience.
- Consider number of flight crew when selecting quantity. (International flights have larger flight crews than domestic flights. I usually select a 6 piece combo for domestic flights and a 1-2lb. box for international flights.)
- Don’t hold back when the flight crew or gate agent is “crabby” or seems undeserving of thanks. “Don’t blame the lettuce!” Like my crabby hospital patients, unhappy people are the ones who often need kindness and compassion most. Make the first move to bring something positive to the flight.
- Consider a unique gift, but avoid homemade treats. Remember our parents taught us not to take candy from strangers? See tip #1…
For long international flights, I also have put together a little basket of goodies to make their long workday more enjoyable.
- Instant coffee packets
- $5 Gift card
- Quality Mints
- Specialty Tea Bags
- Sleep Mask
- Quality Ear Plugs
- Emergen-C (Vitamin C packets)
- Cute portable Kleenex
- High end Lozenges
- iTunes gift card
Be creative – it’s fun. Yes, it takes time out of our busy day, but it is worth it to make someone’s day! And when spreading joy and good will, the aircraft cabin is a more pleasant place to be. Are chocolate or gifts necessary or is a simple note enough? Well, of course a note and smile are always wonderful. However, my experience is that a small gift is that little bit extra that makes a difference.
For those of you who still want to argue you shouldn’t be expected to pay one cent more when the airlines are already gauging you with fees… You have missed my point. Not everyone will agree with this and that’s fine.
Whenever offering a gift, don’t expect something in return. Do it for the right reasons and contribute to the happiness of others.