My family traveled recently — and we wanted to show our appreciation for the flight attendants working our trips. Especially because it’s the holiday season. They’ll probably deal with more riffraff and harried, inexperienced passengers than usual.
We weren’t trying to score any special treatment or anything. We simply wanted to say thank you for working — especially during the holidays. Many crew members are away from home, their familes, and friends.
My five-year-old daughter drew a picture for the entire cabin crew and presented it with a big plastic bag full of assorted candies.
But why candy? And how did we know how many flight attendants were on our planes? If you, too, are looking to give presents to your flight attendants, here are a few
“Candy or Coffee”
A friend of mine works on the ground for a major airline. He gives flight attendants either candy or Starbucks gift cards. “Candy or coffee” is his motto when it comes to onboard crew gifts.
Now, $5 Starbucks gift cards can get expensive if you travel often — especially if want to give them to each crew member on a large aircraft. (At least, it’s expensive for my budget.)
I know a couple of other people who always give M&Ms to flight attendants. So, I decided to raid the Dollar (and a quarter) Tree’s candy section a few days before our trip.
I bought an assortment of chocolates and other candies like licorice, Mike and Ikes, and sour candy. (Am I the only person on Earth who doesn’t like sour candy?)
René sometimes gives flight attendants Amazon gift cards. I’ve seen other people put together care packages with gum, hand sanitizer, and other small gifts.
Quick note: I’ve heard that it’s a good idea to bring pre-packaged and sealed items. I’m sure your homemade cookies and other treats are delicious; but word on the street is stuff like makes people a little wary for safety reasons. (Not everyone is as kind or sane as you.)
How Many Flight Attendants are on Each Flight?
Here’s a quick, easy way to ballpark/estimate how many flight attendants will be staffed on your flights: one flight attendant for every 50 seats. (Here are the federal rules about how many flight attendants are required to be onboard.)
For example, this Delta 757-300 has 234 seats. There would be about five (5) flight attendants on your flight. A Southwest 737-700 has 143 seats; at least three cabin crew members will be onboard. (I counted four last week during a short Las Vegas to Burbank hop.)
This SeatGuru page contains links to dozens of airline fleets. You usually have to do some math (adding first class, premium economy, main cabin, etc.) to determine how many seats are on your plane.
Keep in mind that ultra long haul flights require extra staffing. For something like a Los Angeles to Sydney trip aboard an A350, you’d likely see around 12 flight attendants (as opposed to 7 or 8).
Again, I’m not an authority on this. (I’m sure someone is going to jump into the Comments section and tell me I’m wrong. Or scream at me for giving candy to people who may not like or who can’t have it because of dietary restrictions.) This is simply a method for guesstimating how many cabin crew members will be on your flight. They don’t expect gifts; I’m sure they’re fine sharing candy if you don’t bring enough.
Another idea is to just give gifts to the flight attendants serving your particular part of the aircraft. That might be as few as two or four flight attendants.
It’s fun and personally rewarding to give gifts to flight attendants. Based on everything I’ve heard and experienced, coffee gift cards or packs of candy are almost a sure-fire hit. Just estimate one flight attendant for every 50 seats on a plane. That gives you an idea of how many gifts to bring.
What gifts (if any) do you give to flight attendants (or others)? Flight attendants: what gifts do you enjoy receiving? I’d love to hear about them in the below Comments section!
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