Photo: Flight Attendant Appears To Take Cash Bribe To Let First Class Passengers Go Maskless

A flight attendant on board United Airlines flight 6060 from Charleston to Houston Intercontinental, an Embraer ERJ-175 operated by Mesa Airlines, was photographed appearing to take cash from a first class passenger. Another passenger on board reported on twitter that the cabin crew member “took cash bribes” from passengers up front not to enforce mask rules for the flight.

Another photo from inside the cabin shows at least passengers in the cabin not wearing masks, although the two closest to the person taking the photo are speaking to each other while at least holding a drink.

Zooming in, a female passenger does appear to be offering a folded over $20 bill.

To be clear, we can see cash being offered. We do not have independent confirmation of why the cash was being offered. And no photo shows cash being accepted.

Mask enforcement is lax on many flights – nursing a drink isn’t supposed to be an excuse to go maskless (‘take the mask down for each sip’ rather than leaving it down). Indeed, the attitudes of cabin crew vary tremendously. I flew recently on a flight with two crewmembers chatting maskless in the galley for about 40 minutes while holding (and not drinking from) open water bottles.

In general tipping flight attendants isn’t permitted. Frontier Airlines caused a social media frenzy over its policy to allow tipping three years ago. Their employees are paid less, and made up some of it with tips. Flight attendants who get customers to sign up for credit cards do generally earn a commission. And Ryanair was revealed to impose a quote on cabin crew for inflight sales.

At American Airlines airport customer service employees are allowed to accept “promotional items, complimentary tickets or perishable gifts (candy, fruit, etc)” that’s worth no more than $100. American tells employees to “share[..] with colleagues when practical.” However gifts worth over $100 must be returned.

Employees are not allowed to accept “cash, gift cards, and gift certificates” regardless of amount. So no Starbucks gift cards.

Tipping is far more accepted at hotel check-in in Las Vegas but there the desk agent is being paid off to give you an upgrade (giving away something of their employer’s for free) rather than being paid off to ignore federal rules.

(HT: Paddle Your Own Kanoo)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @huey judy

    People making noise about statistics and “the underlying health issues” is what is extending this disaster.

    A half million more people died in 2020 than historical trends would suggest, or put another way, more than 20% more deaths happened in 2020 than should have happened. The only thing that changed in 2020 was the emergence of COVID.

    If you don’t believe that, then you are the problem (or you’re a Russian/Chinese bot, and you’re the enemy).

  2. MEGAN ROSE ORGEL You are nothing more than a weak minded little busy body troll! In grade school we had a saying “snitches get stitches” lol

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