Stephen Dubner, co-author of the bestseller Freakonomics, asks why people do not tip flight attendants. He basically argues that flight attendants do the same type of service that you find in a lot of other jobs where the workers do receive tips (waiting tables, hotel bellmen, etc.). Any ideas on why people do not tip flight attendants? What makes it different from those other service jobs?
I think the rules about tipping are generally interesting/confusing. For instance, why is the tip in restaurants based on the value of the meal instead of the number of people at the table? I would think that the number of people at the table has a bigger impact on the amount of work a waiter (or waitress) has to do.
Also, if a tip is supposed to be a reward for a good job of service, why not have a convention where half of the tip is given at the beginning of the meal and half at the end? This strategy might encourage better service since I doubt giving a big tip encourages better service unless you go to a restaurant often enough for the server to recognize you and that you tip well.
Also, here is a link to a post I had last year on economic research on small ways that a server can increase the size of their tips.