Tipping the wheelchair handler

Jun 14th, 2004, 09:41 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 270
Tipping the wheelchair handler

We're going to need a wheelchair to get my mother through the airports. She can board the plane OK on her own, but will not be able to walk the distances in the airport, or stand on the security line. How much does one usually tip the person who provides/pushes the wheelchair in this circumstance?
crys is offline  
Jun 14th, 2004, 11:55 AM
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A few dollars, between $3 - $5.
Jun 14th, 2004, 05:00 PM
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Thank you.
crys is offline  
Jun 15th, 2004, 11:01 AM
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I went through this with my mother. I was able to handle the wheelchair at the curbside check in to the gate. The only time another person was required was going down the ramp to board the plane and coming back up the ramp on arrival.

I also could have done this, but the airlines insist on handling this as a security function. They don't want the wheelchair to get away or anything like that. I never tipped. I considered it part of their normal security operations. No, I'm not cheap. I'm a good tipper. I just didn't think this was a proper tipping situation.

Now, if you have someone pushing the wheelchair from the curbside all the way through the boardling process, then I definitely think a tip is expected. Sandi's recommendation looks about right to me.

Curious is offline  
Jun 15th, 2004, 11:26 AM
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At the gate, the person pushing the wheelchair for boarding is probably an airline employee who receives a regular wage.
At the curb, however, it is probably someone (like those who do the curbside bag check-in) whose entire livelihood comes from tips, so don't skimp there. If the trip involves more than a few minutes, I'd increase the tip to reflect that.
kayd is offline  
Jun 15th, 2004, 12:18 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
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I actually used to push wheelchairs in Denver. I worked for a 3rd party company- not the airline or the security company. I got minimum wage, but they took out a percentage to cover any tips, regardless of how much (or little) I got.

In regard to the security line, you'll probably get to go through a special line. At Denver, they had a separate handicapped security gate that never had a line. At Las Vegas, I believe the VIP and handicapped are in the same line, but it's still shorter than the normal one. Everyone in the party gets to go in the special line, so security will probably be a breeze.

The tip amount should really depend on how much work is involved and whether or not they go above and beyond what you expect. If they make your trip easier and less stressful, definitely tip. Handling wheelchairs isn't easy, especially in an airport with trams or buses to the concourses. Airports also tend to be full of people who don't pay attention- it's the handler's job to get you there safely.

With all that said, Sandi had the right idea. $3 - $5 is around the standard tip, but always feel free to give more or less depending on the level of service. Have a great trip!
jbee is offline  
Jun 20th, 2004, 03:40 PM
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thanks. It looks like I have the word of an expert.
crys is offline  
Jun 21st, 2004, 04:35 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
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I generally tipped the wheelchair handlers about $5US, and went up to $20 for one security officer in Miami who whisked us through all the customs and immigration lines, and then through deserted back passages to the luggage area. She stayed with us until I had the luggage and then arranged for a taxi.

Generally, I found the service provided was excellent, and well worth tipping for.
curiousx is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2004, 07:38 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 236
How much you tip depends on how far they push her,and I Usually tip a little extra if the skycap/agent is very friendly and helpful.Remember to get to the airport early and explain to the skycaps what exactly you'll need in the way of assistance.
Randyforgt is offline  

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