Friday, December 10, 2010

Holiday Tipping or Tripping

It is a little known secret that airport employees can receive tips and gifts $100 or less.

Now you are wondering why anyone would want to tip a flight attendant or gate agent anything. Well, this is also the season of weather flight delays and cancellations.

Many people start tripping. They yell and shout at the gate agent about how it is the airline’s fault that they missed their connection or their flight was cancelled. Then they start demanding what are you going to do about it.  Gate Agents are human beings. Most humans don’t react very kindly to being yelled at by irate customers.

Try a different tact.

Case in point, during my trip to Seattle with a friend. I observed him by chocolates truffles at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. They come beautifully packaged in a chocolate gift box.  On our flight to Seattle, he gave the flights attendants a box of chocolates truffles. They were so appreciative. It was amazing the transformation of a simple act of giving can bring about in people’s emotions and attitudes.

My friend also gave the gate agents in Seattle a bag of Cheese and Carmel Popcorn mix from Nuts on Clark. “Nuts on Clark” is a Chicago Institution. They were amazingly grateful.  He always stops to buy goodies and give them to people. He has an unusual generous spirit.

I joined him this act of giving and sharing. I bought a fruit cup to give to a gate agent for breakfast. I just loved watching the surprise on her face.

I reflect now back over the treats those passengers have given me.  I have received a fruit cup in a Starbucks bag, cookies, candy, and brownies, and tips.

These are some recommendations on what to give flight attendants and gate agents:
gift cards for coffee, breakfast, lunch or dinner, candies, cookies, and fruit cups. Items from local favorites, in Chicago like Nuts on Clark, Garrett’s Popcorn, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Giordano’s Pizza, Reggio’s Pizza, etc. are also hits.

I will share with you that these small tokens of appreciation make a world of difference for those who are in the service industry. This small recognition does wonders for our morale.

So next time, you are flying instead of tripping try tipping.  Pick up something to give to a gate agent or flight attendant. Give it to them and then just observe the magic of giving.  Don’t expect anything in return now that’s the true gift of holiday giving.