shanxz
Posts: 72
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 1:17 pm

Should Airlines Allow In-flight "tipping"

Mon Feb 16, 2009 6:51 am

Recently, a friend of mine was asked for a tip in Business Class on an Air-India flight from LHR - DEL. He didn't oblige and though initially I found the idea appalling, I thought it might just make sense for some carriers like LCCs who're looking to reduce costs and improve service quality at the same time. After all, the idea behind tipping (or gratuity) is to reward good service delivery, and denounce bad quality of service. And it's already a norm in the hospitality industry.

I just wrote an article discussing the pros and cons tipping on-board a plane, but wanted to hear the thoughts of experts here, whether tipping should be allowed in an airline. Do you think it's something that will enhance in-flight service delivery and the brand experience? Or is it too "cheap" to tip someone in-flight? If it's good, how can airlines implement it easily?
Airlines are in the service business, not transport. Brand matters...
 
directorguy
Posts: 1050
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2008 10:58 am

RE: Should Airlines Allow In-flight "tipping&

Mon Feb 16, 2009 7:05 am



Quoting Shanxz (Thread starter):
Recently, a friend of mine was asked for a tip in Business Class on an Air-India flight from LHR - DEL

You mean he was an actual paying passenger in J and someone asked him for a tip? Are you serious? ??

You have raised a serious and challenging issue in your well-written article (which I've grown quite fond of btw). My conclusion is that airlines can perhaps include a questionnaire in every seat with questions like 'How was the service...who was your server' and that the passenger can leave an amount in that envolope at their discretion. The airline could also take note of each customer's feedback regarding each cabin crew member.

If airlines permit passengers to tip freely and openly, then this will raise issues about an airline's consistency when it comes to customer service standards.
 
richcandy
Posts: 623
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2001 4:49 pm

RE: Should Airlines Allow In-flight "tipping&

Mon Feb 16, 2009 7:39 am

Hi

In my view no its not a good idea. My reasons are:

1) Not everyone has the money to tip. Flying used to be only for the rich, even though we now have LCC's still lots of people have to save hard to be able to take their families on holiday or to visit family & friends. The LCC's make flying more like bus travel and would you tip a bus driver? Put it this way if your a family with 2 adults and 2 kids and you have saved for a year or 18 months to take your family to the beach for a week would you be happier to give the cabin crew a tip or buy your kids ice cream?

2) Every country has a different view on tipping. Example in the United States you nearly tip everyone "its expected" and there is a sort of unwritten rule as to how much or what % you tip. In the United Kingdom you tip but only if the service has been good and also not everywhere. Smart restaurants yes but cafes, bar etc no. In France you tip again only if the service has been good and its nothing like 5 or 10% of the bill more like €2 in a restaurant and maybe €0.50 in a café. I believe in Japan they don't tip.

3) I am not sure that letting cabin crew on LCC's take tips will let the airlines reduce wage bills. The low cost carriers do not pay cabin crew that much and at least in the UK and France there are minimum wage rules.

4) Were does the tip go to? In the UK there are stories that lots of cafes & restaurants do not let their staff keep the tips. Some make all tips be added together and then split between everyone that works there. There are also stories that all tips go into a tip jar and this jar never gets emptied. Some employers are even more direct and make all tips just be paid back into the business.


Alex
 
shanxz
Posts: 72
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 1:17 pm

RE: Should Airlines Allow In-flight "tipping&

Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:22 am



Quoting Directorguy (Reply 1):
You mean he was an actual paying passenger in J and someone asked him for a tip? Are you serious? ??

This was exactly my reaction when I heard it. But indeed, it's a true account. I've shared it in greater details in the article.

Quoting Directorguy (Reply 1):
You have raised a serious and challenging issue in your well-written article (which I've grown quite fond of btw).

Thank you  Smile

Quoting Directorguy (Reply 1):
If airlines permit passengers to tip freely and openly, then this will raise issues about an airline's consistency when it comes to customer service standards.

Interesting point. How so?

Quoting Richcandy (Reply 2):
1) Not everyone has the money to tip.

Well, a lot of international travelers carry quite a lot of small notes in foreign currency when returning back home. I guess these can be passed on as tips. Also, if a passenger can afford to pay a $500 ticket inclusive of taxes, then I'm sure he can afford to pay a $5 tip.

Quoting Richcandy (Reply 2):
2) Every country has a different view on tipping.

Agreed. Exactly my concern in my article. In fact, in some countries, tipping is illegal. But airlines by nature are global organizations. So it’s a dilemma, whether this will work internationally or not.
Airlines are in the service business, not transport. Brand matters...
 
OHLHD
Posts: 2903
Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 6:02 am

RE: Should Airlines Allow In-flight "tipping&

Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:27 am



Quoting Shanxz (Thread starter):
Recently, a friend of mine was asked for a tip in Business Class on an Air-India flight from LHR - DEL.

I would complain. There are airlines where doing such things are strictly forbidden. If someone asks me for a tip he will certainly not get anything. I will say thank you for the good service but that´s it. It is certainly not my problem if they earn to less money. Nobody gives a damn if I ( in my job) gets good or bad money.

I do not like the idea at all. You cannot compare a restaurant - where you have free access - against an aircraft seat - which you have to pay for. You order a steak and you like it then you will tip the waiter or the cook or if you do not like it you will send it back. But if I am on an aircraft and I do not like it I am stuck to my seat. And if it is good.... then it is what I paid for.
 
LAXintl
Posts: 20183
Joined: Wed May 24, 2000 12:12 pm

RE: Should Airlines Allow In-flight "tipping&

Mon Feb 16, 2009 4:53 pm

Sure why not.

Airlines like other forms of transportation is a service industry. We tip taxi, limo drivers, employees on cruise lines, hotel employees from the maid, concierge, door man, and off course we tip in the food and beverage establishments.

Seems to me the airlines would fit perfectly in the mix.
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
Viscount724
Posts: 19065
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:32 pm

RE: Should Airlines Allow In-flight "tipping&

Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:58 pm



Quoting LAXintl (Reply 5):
Sure why not.

Airlines like other forms of transportation is a service industry. We tip taxi, limo drivers, employees on cruise lines, hotel employees from the maid, concierge, door man, and off course we tip in the food and beverage establishments.

Seems to me the airlines would fit perfectly in the mix.

Yes we tip taxi drivers, but I would never tip an airline pilot. And aren't flight attendants there primarily for safety reasons? Tipping seems to make the position seem less professional, and just another service job.

Should also keep in mind that tipping is not common, and in some cases virtually unheard of, in some countries. Unless it's changed since my last trip to Japan a few years ago, taxi drivers are not tipped (except probably by Americans who don't know any better and are so used to giving 15% or even 20% tips to almost everyone at home).

I often see American visitors leaving totally unnecessary big tips in restaurants in countries in Europe where high service charges are already included and only small tips (and often none) are given by the locals. Obviously the servers aren't going to turn down the tips, but it is not good if they start to expect tips where none were expected before.
 
LAXintl
Posts: 20183
Joined: Wed May 24, 2000 12:12 pm

RE: Should Airlines Allow In-flight "tipping&

Tue Feb 17, 2009 5:25 pm



Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 6):

Well you might not, but I certainly would not oppose tipping.

Frankly, I believe tipping would actually improve onboard service by providing a financial incentive.
Just like other industries where employees have a more direct control of their earnings whether via sales commissions or direct tipping people tend to pickup their work pace and quality.

Seemingly it cant hurt, and might actually make things more pleasant when traveling.
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California

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