Flight attendants lead hectic lives, which have only gotten busier and more stressful since the COVID-19 pandemic. More than that, the whole flight crew must regularly put up with a lot of nonsense. This is why I always show up at the airport with gift bags for my flight crews.
Imagine dealing with fussy travelers, impatient teenagers, noisy toddlers, and selfish idiots who don’t listen to directions from the flight crew while in an enclosed space. Imagine doing all that while maintaining a composed aura and a smile–oof. That, folks, is life in the aviation industry.
Flight attendants have one of the most challenging jobs in the aviation and hospitality industry. So, if you’ve got a pal who’s a flight attendant, or you’re looking for a way to thank your flight attendants for their often thankless work, you’re in the right place. Read through this comprehensive list of gifts for flight attendants to choose the ideal option.
Insider tip: many places online say if you bring your flight crew a creative gift, they’ll boost you to first-class or shower you with free in-flight booze. As someone who has done this dozens upon dozens of times, I want to impress upon you the importance of not expecting special treatment.
I was upgraded to first class once because it was open, given drinks or extra snacks, postcards from the flight crew, or some other unforgettable little token. But most of the time, I receive a lot of positive affirmation and thanks from the flight attendants and crew onboard. These acts of kindness shouldn’t be done in the expectation of reward.
What We Cover
- Best Flight Attendant Gift Ideas by Category
- Best Gifts for Flight Attendants
- 1. Infinity Travel Pillow
- 2. Portable Food Warmer
- 3. e.l.f. Skin Hydrated Ever After Skincare Mini Kit
- 4. Luggage Cup Holder
- 5. All-Purpose Tote Bag
- 6. Starbucks Gift Cards
- 7. Collapsible Travel Water Bottle
- 8. Universal Travel Adapter
- 9. Scratch-Off World Map
- 10. Vintage Airlines Poster
- 11. Travel Shoe Bags
- 12. Burt’s Bees Skincare Products Travel Set
- 13. Off-Duty, Save Yourself Wine Glass
- 14. Airplane Stud Earrings
- 15. Chocolate or Candy
- Is it appropriate to give flight attendants a gift?
- What do flight attendants like as a gift?
- How can I make my flight attendant happy?
Best Flight Attendant Gift Ideas by Category
|Best for Relaxation
|Infinity Travel Pillow
|Best for On-The-Go Meals
|Portable Food Warmer
|Best for Self-Care
|e.l.f. Skin Hydrated Ever After Skincare Mini Kit
|Best for Convenience
|Luggage Cup Holder
Best Gifts for Flight Attendants
Whether you’re going for a birthday gift, graduation gift, or just a token of appreciation, remember that most flight attendants likely have everything they need, making them a tricky bunch to shop for. Also, please keep in mind that while money is often the perfect gift, most flight crews are not permitted to accept monetary gifts.
So, should you pamper them further with an expensive gift or go for a thoughtful token of love? That’s your call, but I have included flight attendant gifts of multiple categories and price ranges in the list below to help solve your issue.
Go through my list of aviation gifts for flight attendants, pick out options that fit your needs, and make a hardworking crew smile on your next flight. Keep in mind that if you’re dolling out a gift to crews on your flight, you’ll want to stick to something pocket-sized. The larger gifts on this list are meant for FAs in your life – to be given far from the airport for a holiday, birthday, or just because.
1. Infinity Travel Pillow
If there’s something flight attendants can’t get enough of, it’s comfort. Despite looking pretty sharp, a lot of flight attendant uniforms are heavy and uncomfortable. That’s why a cozy infinity travel pillow that molds around your neck is perfect for folks who absolutely deserve comfort even on the go–which they always are.
This ultra-comfy pillow can help them get a good night’s (or day’s) sleep during their break time. Usually, flight attendants have compartments above yours during long-haul flights where they can crash and get some rest when their shift is over. These moldable pillows make it easier to get comfy even in a tight spot; maybe you’ll need to get one for yourself too.
Most importantly, the pillow is highly portable and easily forms around a luggage handle or bag strap, making it harder to leave behind. This helps for easy transportation during rigorous travel schedules. Get one for your flight attendant friend, and the 360-degree neck support will have them thinking of you on every flight.
See Related: Why Are Flights So Expensive Right Now?
2. Portable Food Warmer
Let’s face it: if you work somewhere that makes its own food, you often don’t want to eat it unless you have to. The same can be said for flight crews whose choices are between bringing their own meals, eating the heavily salted in-flight options, or grabbing a quick bite while bustling through the terminal.
In this case, a flight attendant might choose a home-cooked meal over a dubious in-flight meal. However, managing personal food items on the go can get quite tricky. But this portable food warmer by Crockpot can make the task a breeze.
This electrically operated device can store food and keep it warm until the next mealtime. It can also be plugged in for warming, though you shouldn’t use these for frozen food.
A little (carry-on safe) Crockpot can only do so much. Furthermore, the food warmer requires no external monitoring. Your flight attendant friend can switch it on and get back to work until chow time.
See Related: Best Tumi Travel Kits
3. e.l.f. Skin Hydrated Ever After Skincare Mini Kit
Self-care products are undoubtedly some of the perfect gifts for flight attendants. Remember, their skin faces overly dry, recycled air, extended makeup wear, and skin treatments to ensure their ever-composed visage. All this on top of their routine, which barely gives them time for themselves, self-care can become a luxury.
So, if you’re looking for gifts for flight attendants who need some pampering, this e.l.f. Skin Hydrated Ever After Skincare Mini Kit is a perfect thank-you for their hard work. These small items are TSA-size compliant, easy to pack, and cruelty-free.
Each set comes with five products: Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm, Hydrating Booster Drops, Holy Hydration! Face Cream, and Holy Hydration! Eye Cream. Making eye contact with grumpy passengers is so much easier when your eyes are hydrated and feeling fabulous. Plus, who doesn’t want to feel special and receive some tokens of self-care goodness?
See Related: Best Gifts for Travel Agents
4. Luggage Cup Holder
Flight attendants usually have to catch flights at odd hours, so there’s limited time to get coffee or refreshments before boarding. That’s why, if you need unique flight attendant gifts, this luggage cup holder is a great option. I know it looks a bit weak, but mine has made quite a few journeys with me through many an airport, and the crew will appreciate the free hand.
This cup holder gets fixed on the luggage handle and folds flat for easy storage, which is why it’s one of my favorite travel accessories. I know what you’re thinking; hanging your coffee cup on your luggage sounds like a perfect recipe for mess and spillage. But as long as it is carefully fastened, you shouldn’t have any issues with that nifty gadget.
So, even if your friend is dragging their bag at full speed to catch a plane, the device will keep the cup or whatever else you need to be carried upright. Also, the device can fit onto any carry-on or suitcase. Rest assured, these cup holders have an excellent reputation for a reason.
5. All-Purpose Tote Bag
If you want an extra special gift for a crew member who needs a little pampering, consider a high-quality tote bag. This all-purpose tote bag by TUMI is a practical and stylish carry-on bag for busy flight attendants and will make a charming addition to their already stunning luggage/bags collection.
The lightweight nylon bag has a unique feature that lets you fold it into a smaller pouch when unnecessary. Your flight attendant friend can keep it as a small pouch in their carry-on during flights and open it up to carry their essentials during layovers. Additionally, this tote bag has multiple external and internal pockets with sturdy zip fittings to ensure the safety of their belongings.
Besides that, the tote has an accessible matching back sleeve that lets you connect your luggage handles. Flight attendants can carry multiple bags on their trolley bags using this feature, avoiding lugging the extra weight on their free arm. This bag is just a great gift all around, especially for loved ones who are flight crew.
See Related: Layover vs Stopover: What’s The Difference?
6. Starbucks Gift Cards
The first flight attendant I ever spoke to about giving gifts to the crew put me on to this little tidbit. While most crews can’t accept actual money, they can take gift cards, and Starbucks gift cards are a big hit because you’ll be hard-pressed to find any airport that doesn’t have a Starbucks.
You can easily buy multipacks of gift cards in $5, $10, or even $25 increments to give to your crew as gifts.
Gift cards are always a great idea because you don’t have to worry about your nice gesture impeding someone’s dietary restrictions, skincare allergies, or other needs your gifts might be affecting. Plus, it’s always fun to get to choose your own little treat.
New flight attendants will be particularly blown away anytime you show up with cool gifts, especially ahead of a long-haul flight. Although this gift-giving phenomenon is becoming more in vogue, it’s still not typical for passengers to show up to the airplane with care packages or even a card for their crew.
See Related: Going (Formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights) Review
7. Collapsible Travel Water Bottle
If you’re searching for good gifts for flight attendants, this high-quality collapsible water bottle is one of the most excellent practical options. Flight attendants must always stay hydrated as their job requires them to be on their feet most of the time.
However, they usually don’t have the space to carry huge personal water bottles. This makes it quite challenging to track their daily water intake.
That’s why your flight attendant friend or relative will surely appreciate this stylish and durably-designed space-saving water bottle. Constructed out of BPA-free plastic and silicone, the bottle does not accumulate a gross odor over time.
Unlike other collapsible bottles, this one is relatively easy to clean and prevents leakage. This means your friends can be concern-free whether they carry it in their hands or their carry-ons. Also, an easy-to-store water bottle is another reminder to grab water before boarding the airplane or to drink the nasty onboard tap water.
See Related: Ways to Book the Cheapest First-Class Flights
8. Universal Travel Adapter
Nowadays, our devices help us keep track of everything from personal to professional commitments to our pet’s TikTok and which Thai restaurant we’ll order from at 2 a.m. But this can get worse if you’re a flight attendant. Going off-grid for even a few minutes might lag you on updates and crucial info.
Moreover, you’ll be staying at hotels in multiple countries worldwide, so keeping your devices charged can get tricky. For example, an ill-fitting power socket in a foreign country can leave your phone dead quickly. And if the crew are anything like other passengers, adapters are easily left behind when you’re rushing to the airport at 3 a.m. on three hours of sleep.
That’s why there can’t be better gifts for flight attendants than a universal power adapter. This International Power Adapter by Newvanga fit plugs from more than 150 countries, including the U.S., the U.K., Thailand, Israel, Italy, France, Spain, Canada, China, Australia, India, Peru, and Korea. Also, this product is integrated with safety shutters that let you use it safely on live socket parts.
See Related: Essential Solo Travel Luggage & Accessories
9. Scratch-Off World Map
If you want fun, interactive gifts for flight attendants that’ll put a smile on their faces, this scratch-off world map is a great option. (Albeit one of the harder gifts to fly with) One of the main reasons anyone aspires to become a flight attendant and accept the grueling schedule is to fly the skies and explore the world.
As a record of fulfilling their dreams, your flight attendant friends can hang this scratch-off world map at home and scratch off every country they have visited. Built out of high-quality materials, the board comes with efficient scratch tools and attractive memory stickers.
I have this poster, and while it hasn’t made its way onto my office wall yet, it’s an excellent catalog of all the places I’ve been so far in my lifetime. Additionally, it includes a handy magnifying strip so gift recipients can mark even the tiniest places they’ve been to without straining their eyes.
See Related: Types of Travel Bags for the Jetsetter
10. Vintage Airlines Poster
Another wall decor option for flight attendants who like to customize their living space with their passion. This Vintage United Airlines Poster is one of the most incredible gifts for flight attendants who love the history of commercial aviation.
You could even match it up to your crew’s specific airline, as in our United Airlines example above. Printed on eco-friendly paper, this gorgeous poster can remind you of a trip or someone’s entire career, depending on the luck of the draw for your flight crew.
Just be sure to leave it in any protective wrapping to stay harm-free while your crew is in the air. These also often come individually wrapped. I have the United Airlines ones featuring the Enchanted Tiki Room from Disneyland.
If you wish to customize your gift, you can tweak your order and request the materials and printing inks of your choice. The options range from premium bamboo fiber to natural fabrics like silk and hemp.
See Related: Best Travel Accessories and Gear
11. Travel Shoe Bags
Hardly anyone invests in high-quality travel shoe bags, but there’s one high-flying industry I can think of that requires workers to wear high-quality, shiny shoes. Yep, you guessed it: flight crews. Typically, flight attendants will ditch their immaculate work shoes between flights and go for something comfier. But where should they store their shinies when wearing their comfies?
This travel shoe bag set by Tuff Guy includes four separate durable nylon bags to carry on any airplane trip. The nylon material resists water and other contaminants from damaging your footwear. Similarly, the robust zippers ensure that the bags last from one airplane to the next for a long, long while.
Another aspect I love about these shoe bags is the small identifiers on each piece. So your flight attendant friends can easily label each bag to avoid picking out the wrong shoes from their luggage. Besides that, each piece has a durable handle that you can carry from or fasten to your backpack.
See Related: Best Cheap Flight Alert Websites
12. Burt’s Bees Skincare Products Travel Set
You aren’t seeing double; we did previously mention a skincare set. However, this particular set isn’t just focused on the face as our first one was. This is a gift to help your crew stay hydrated and fresh from head to toe.
Working as a flight attendant can seem glamorous; however, it can get exhausting, and many workers neglect self-care. This compact yet comprehensive Skincare Products Travel Set by Burt’s Bees lets your friends pamper and take care of themselves, whether flying or just enjoying a calm night at home.
This affordable six-piece set includes a cleanser, hydrating lotion, body lotion, foot cream, and hand repair cream. Using these products at the end of the day ensures your friend a relaxed night’s sleep with replenished skin, even from the bustle of their jetsetting lifestyle.
See Related: Best GoPro Accessories for Travel
13. Off-Duty, Save Yourself Wine Glass
Flight attendant or not, who doesn’t like to indulge in a rewarding glass of wine at the end of the day? A crew that has dealt with rowdy passengers on a plane all day more than deserves a self-congratulatory glass of vino.
Give your flight attendant friend a personalized drinking experience by getting them this cheeky wine glass as a token of appreciation. This 21oz stemless wine glass depicts the feelings of flight attendants who get barely a few hours a week for themselves after providing for fussy passengers.
Perfect for travel, the glass is made of high-quality vinyl rather than glass, so there’s minimal chance of breakage even if your friends carry it with them on their trips. However, remind them that it is not dishwasher or microwave-friendly.
If you plan to give these glasses out to crew members on a plane, checking bags is best. These are not as easily stowed away in a carry-on. Sorry, fellow carry-on-only passengers, this gift idea isn’t for us.
See Related: Delta Airlines Review
14. Airplane Stud Earrings
Flight attendants are allowed minimal jewelry when working onboard depending on the airline. So, if your friend loves to wear jewelry to style their attire, these appropriate airplane stud earrings are a great gift option.
Made out of hypoallergenic sterling silver, these earrings won’t tarnish or rust easily. This means they’ll retain their shine for long intervals, and your friend can use them for years.
Besides that, the materials are completely free of harmful elements such as nickel, lead, and cadmium. They won’t cause any itching or discomfort to the wearer, even if they keep them all day.
Most importantly, the earrings come in a dainty gift box with a personalized polishing cloth. So you don’t have to put in any extra effort to pack or present the gift. You may even be tempted to get one once you see them in person.
15. Chocolate or Candy
If you’re making little gift bags for flight attendants on your flight, we’ve heard time and time again that a little bit of candy is always appreciated. Pick up some chocolate at the airport, or pack some pieces in your carry-on.
If you fly a lot, buy chocolate in bulk and bring an assortment to hand out. A few pieces of chocolate and a couple of Starbucks gift cards in a baggie will create a creative gift your crews will truly appreciate.
Is it appropriate to give flight attendants a gift?
Absolutely! However, it would be best to refrain from giving flight crews money, as most airline employers don’t allow it. However, they can accept gift cards and other small tokens of appreciation—no unwrapped or homemade food or snacks for health and safety reasons.
What do flight attendants like as a gift?
Flight attendants never expect a passenger to show up with a gift, so anything is appreciated. However, the most requested things flight crews have told me are gift cards, little snacks, and body products.
How can I make my flight attendant happy?
Honestly, treat them like a person. A single passenger with a kind word or gesture could make all the difference in a crew member’s day. Gifts aren’t required, but kindness is.