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How much to tip wheelchair attendant at the airport?

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Aug 25th, 2012, 08:14 AM
  #1
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How much to tip wheelchair attendant at the airport?

Have been flying a lot this year domestically and internationally. Due to disability, often (but not always) have to request wheelchair at the airport (think Atlanta, JFK domestic/international) if distances are far. Is there a standard on tipping the attendant? In July, I had someone assist with going from international to domestic terminal at JFK and luggage retrieval. My DD pushed the luggage carrier, attendant pushed me. I tipped him $15 and he looked very pi$$ed off. In Atlanta, I had to be pushed from one far terminal, via subway, to another and tipped $10 and I thought the attendant was going to kiss my feet, she was so happy. Is there a standard rule of thumb? Is there a ratio for amount of time or distance? I want to ensure I do the right thing, as I don't believe the attendants make much money and would like to properly compensate them.

Thanks for your advice!
LBloom is offline  
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Aug 25th, 2012, 08:26 AM
  #2
 
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Once, I was in Chicago and was about to miss my connecting flight as I had to walk through 2 concourses.

I spied a gentleman wheeling a wheelchair. I told him I'd give him $20 if he could get me there quickly.

He took off running, on the carpet, off the carpet, but he never stopped running.

It was a very exciting ride, to say the least. He thought $20 was more than appropriate for really going out of his way.

Unfortunately, the plane's door was closing just as I got there.
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Aug 25th, 2012, 11:16 AM
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I think it all depends on the amount of time the attendant spends pushing you around. In recent instances when we've had the need for wheel chair assistance I've generally tipped $20 but these were pretty straight forward events and didn't require very much time.

When I tip I look upon the amount I give as part of their "hourly wage". Thus in your case if the attendant took say 15 minutes to get you from point A to point B and you tipped $15 that's the equivalent of $60/hour (certainly a more than fair amount). If, however, the attendant spent more time, say 45 minutes, then you probably should have been more generous. Remember, the attendant spends some time getting "to" where you are and then after taking you to where you need to go he/she has to get back to their normal duty station.

I tend to be a generous tipper but I'm not extravagant either. I'm fortunate enough to be financially secure and in instances like these I figure the attendant can use an extra $5 more than me.
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Aug 27th, 2012, 01:24 PM
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I only used this (fabulous) service one trip (right before a knee surgery).

I didn't even know about it, they saw me hobble in on a cane to the ticket counters and said "Someone get Grandma a wheelchair"... I was all of 45 at the time).

I was unaware that tipping was appropriate and did not give anyone anything (which I felt very bad about when I read here later on it's expected). Everyone was extremely nice to me anyways.
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Sep 2nd, 2012, 04:21 PM
  #5
 
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Depends a bit on the terminal and whether it's a domestic flight or an international one. For the latter, we usually tip between $10 and $20, depending on how much we luggage we have for the attendant to handle, the line at Immigration, and so on. For domestic flights, usually $5.

Another factor is whether the attendant is TSA personnel.
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