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America’s last tip-free bastion is about to fall

January 10, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

In America it’s pervasive. Not chewing gum, but endless tipping, almost compulsory, applied to every service you can think of except while you’re flying – and now finally even that is about to give way.

Low-cost carriers charge for just about everything in the US, and now Frontier Airlines is pushing the boundaries even further; letting flight attendants take and keep tips.

The process is not quite as in-your-face as the hovering waiter who hangs around at the end of a meal. The Denver-based airline will give passengers who order food and drink using a digital tablet on the plane the option of adding a tip for the flight attendant.

Frontier introduced digital tablets three years ago, but it has been discreet and flight attendants have had to share any tips with other cabin crew. That changed at the start of this year.

Spare change, anyone?

The main body opposing tipping is the US cabin crew union. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Association of Flight Attendants International, representing 50,000 flight attendants at 20 airlines, says flight attendants are responsible for in-flight safety and security. Their service shouldn’t depend on whether a passenger tips them, or how much.

This Frontier A319 is nicknamed ‘Stan the Ram’

The union suspects Frontier is trying to undermine contract negotiations with the union.

So far Frontier, the eighth-largest commercial airline in the US, is the only one allowing tips, the paper says.

Written by Peter Needham

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