Traveling with a wheelchair comes with certain challenges — many of which can be easily offset by some professional wheelchair assistance at the airport or baggage claim. A helping hand can make all the difference, and most travelers are happy to provide a tip to airport personnel who go the extra mile to make their travel experience a good one. But who should you tip? And how much is expected?
While it’s generally understood that tipping the gate or flight attendant isn’t necessary, tipping the person who pushes your wheelchair from the ticket counter to the gate or who handles your bags for you is something you should plan to do. After all, navigating you quickly and safely through the airport takes skill and strength — and a tip is a great way to let someone know that you appreciate the effort.
Now, the bigger question: How much should you tip? Opinions vary widely. Unlike restaurants, where a 15 to 20 percent tip is standard, there are no hard-and-fast rules about tipping in airports. On the low end is a minimum $2 to $3 every time you receive wheelchair assistance. On the high end — $10 to $20. The right answer is probably somewhere in the middle. Most people seem comfortable in the $5 range.
Still not sure? Here are a few things to consider when you’re making your decision on the right amount to tip:
1. How far did the person pushing your wheelchair have to go? A trip across the airport or between different concourses is surely worth a larger amount.
2. How many bags did you have? Some people travel with lots of luggage, others with none at all. A rule of thumb is to tip $1 per bag.
3. How was the service overall? Good customer service counts. Tip accordingly.
Tipping may be subjective, but it’s always appreciated. Why not err on the side of generosity?