The Essentials

How the Job of Flight Attendants Is Changing

I used to think that flight attendants’ sole purpose was for our safety.

Now that primary role has been clouded by…marketing.

Once the door closes on many American flights, you won’t just hear the safety instructions, you’ll hear the flight attendants hard-sell pitching for you to sign up for a credit card.

If you order food on a Frontier airlines flight and you swipe your credit card to pay for it, you now have an option to tip individual flight attendants 10%, 15%, or 20%.

American commissions its flight attendants $50 for every cardholder they sign up.

It has become uneasy for many passengers and flight attendants alike, some of whom claim the airlines are doing this in lieu of offering them pay raises.

For the moment, thankfully, tipping is optional.