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Tipping the wheelchair attendant at the airport

Tipping the wheelchair attendant at the airport

Mar 26th, 2005, 05:52 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 507
Tipping the wheelchair attendant at the airport

My husband has very limited walking capacity. We came into the Miami airport last week and AA had an attendant with a wheelchair awaiting our arrival. The man worked for a company that had a contract with AA, he was not an AA employee. He was wonderful. He took us a very long way to passport checking, then to baggage claim. Waited 1/2 hour with us until our luggage finally came, and then took us to the Delta counter for our airline switch to Delta to go on to Orlando. Then got us a Delta attendant to take us the rest of the way. He spent about an hour with us.
Sorry, long story, but I wanted to convey the extent of the service. Are there any guidelines for tipping these attendants? The service was invaluable to us.
janeg is offline  
Mar 26th, 2005, 07:34 PM
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I do not know if there are any guidelines, but I personally would (if in a similar situation) give a $10 tip. Some persons I'm sure would give $20 if financially able. My own thought is usually: could I have done it alone without the attendant? How long was the attendant with me? How much of an ordeal would it have been without the attendant?
Mar 27th, 2005, 07:05 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 507
Could I have done it alone without the attendant? No way
How long was the attendant with me? Almost an hour.
How much of an ordeal would it have been without the attendant? Horrible.
I gave him $25.

janeg is offline  
Mar 27th, 2005, 01:34 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 272
Never having had the need for an attendant, I can't say the tipping issue occured to me. Given the fine service you got, I think it was worthwhile to tip and it was very nice of you to do so.
CubFanAlways is offline  
Mar 28th, 2005, 05:16 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,114
My mother uses this service with AA and she usually tips $10 to $15. She has never had to switch carriers, so her experience isn't typically as long, but she's always been happy with their attentiveness and been glad to tip for it.

On another note, when she has tried to tip in St. Maarten she has been told that they are not allowed to take tips for wheelchair assistance, so that issue could also vary airport to airport. I would never hesitate to try, though.
Statia is offline  
Mar 28th, 2005, 07:15 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 555

I'm glad you had such a great experience! I was actually a wheelchair attendant at DIA one Christmas Break and I can tell you from personal experience that tipping is greatly appreciated. I got paid less than minimum wage because tipping was expected.

On the flip side, the United attendants were employees of United and didn't accept tips. It may depend on the airline, contracting company, or airport whether or not tipping is allowed.

As for guidelines, my experience was that $5.00 was a pretty common size tip for outbound services (delivery to a gate) and $7-10 was average for inbound services (usually including baggage claim). This was about 5 years ago, but the standard is probably around the same.
jbee is offline  
Oct 15th, 2006, 09:36 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 59
Last month my sister was in a wheel chair through Heathrow, Toronto, O'Hare, and Nashville. Each time, the wheelchair attendant was very helpful and I tipped them $15 each, except for the one in Nashville who also helped us with our luggage and to our car and I tipped him $25. At Heathrow and Toronto the attendants both said they were not allowed to accept tips, but as we walked along, I just handed them the tip and said thank you and they both took it and said thank you. Their services were well worth it.
MollyB is offline  
Oct 16th, 2006, 09:22 AM
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well duh people!! They are skycaps and they mainly work for the tips. They only make maybe $3/hour because most of their money is made on tips!!
Oct 22nd, 2006, 10:21 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 20,693
We tip $5 if someone just wheels me from the check-in counter to the gate. But on return flights when Customs is involved and the attendant helps with the luggage AND has a long, long route to follow (as at O'Hare, which must be about a mile) I tip $20. In-between help rates $10.
Underhill is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2006, 05:18 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 576
I guess it varies by airport, but there was a column in our paper last year that the wheelchair attendents here in Cleveland make sub-minimum wage because they're supposed to get tips (like wait staff), but they are not allowed to tell customers this.
MerryTravel is offline  
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