Can working on a private jet be profitable?
A question often asked of flight attendants who work on private jets is whether we get tips or not. Working on a yacht is often considered a similar position, and it is known that yacht crew often make up a considerable part of their salary through the guests’ tips. A tip is expected from guests after each charter and often between $1500 and $2000. Is it the same for flight attendants?
If the private jet is privately owned, the owner or operator will negotiate and pay the agreed salary. Per diems (a nightly away from base payment) will be an additional extra. Tips are extremely rare in this case as the crew is already ‘paid’ a salary. The crew is seen as individuals employed by the owner.
Royals and governments
Royals and governments often have their own aircraft and personal crew. Occasionally an aircraft may be chartered on request through an operator. In general, these flights are very set to the protocol required. Security and discretion are key factors. Flight attendants working on these kinds of flights would never expect to receive a tip.
Charter flights are much more varied. They can be carrying a football team to an event or a band on tour – it may be a one-off flight or over a set period of time. In general, one-off tips are rare, but if you’ve been flying the same group of people for a while, they may tip at the end of a tour, but not always! VIP families are often the most generous with tips. Often they will fly to another home in another region for a few months and make it an occasion. They like to tip the crew as part of their experience, especially if they recognize them from a previous flight.
It very much depends on the operator or company policy as to how to proceed with tip sharing. Sometimes the manual will state that tips are at the individual’s discretion or may be shared between the crew. Flight crew are tipped more than the flight attendant/s. A tip can range anywhere from $50 to $500 in the cabin but much more in the cockpit. When you are working with a regular crew who all know each other, it is more likely that they will pool all tips together and share them equally.
It is very important for discretion with tips, and when working on private jets, you would never expect them. On private jets, we do have stationary onboard and provide envelopes should they be required. A passenger may hand you a cash note directly, but more often than not, they request for envelopes. These are then handed to each crew member individually. It is something that is done almost invisibly for politeness.
In general, the comparison of tipping in the private jet world is completely different from that of yachts. They receive a single amount and share it equally between the crew and are received every charter. We rarely receive tips after our flights and would never expect it – although this might differ in some areas of the world, where tipping is more standard. However, we are extremely grateful when we do receive a tip, as it all helps!