b777a340fan
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How Much Should You Tip A Wheelchair Assistant?

Mon Dec 17, 2012 7:16 pm

My grandmother visited from France and needed wheelchair assistance from the plane to the car. Upon reaching the car, I handed the wheelchair assistant, as a courtesy, a $10 tip for taking care of my grandmother. I didn't think it was exhorbitant, but I did feel like it was an acceptable tip (acknowledging in the back of my mind that I shouldn't even have to tip this assistant as he is probably an employee of the airport). His response, to my dismay, was: "That's it??? You cheap people!" I regret not saying anything, I just ignored him and went on my merry way. It should be noted that this is not the first occurrence that this happened and I am thinking that this has become a trend amongst the assistance (granted some may be more aggressive than others). This happened at IAD. My questions are: Has this happened to you, if so, what did you do? Should you tip the wheelchair assistant, if so, how much? Thanks.
 
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airportugal310
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RE: How Much Should You Tip A Wheelchair Assistant

Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:25 pm

I would have taken the money right back out of their hands.

Ingrate.

$10 was on the higher end, sure. I probably would have done half that. As if wheeling someone around is a lot of hard work...and on top of that, they wont even need to report it.
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PlymSpotter
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RE: How Much Should You Tip A Wheelchair Assistant

Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:30 pm

Personally I don't agree with tipping - because I feel it leads to experiences like yours.

But... I travel frequently with grandparents in their late 80s, one who needs a wheelchair. Typically they tip €2-5, so long as the staff haven't forgotten things or left us somewhere and forgotten to come back. Of course a lot depends on the time they are assisting us - if it's just minutes for one section (say security to the gate) they don't tip. But if it's one person assisting us from, say, inside the plane, down in the ambilift and then through reclaim to the door of the taxi then €5 is normal, so long as they have been polite and helpful.

I've got to say the staff generally do a fantastic job, the only airport we have issues with is Bristol, where they appear understaffed and have on several occasions pressed people with mobility issues to climb the stairs - 'in case you miss the plane'. Not on.


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aerorobnz
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RE: How Much Should You Tip A Wheelchair Assistant

Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:51 pm

As someone who has pushed WCHRs around the airport I would add that someplaces, like New Zealand it is not standard practice to tip nor is it really acceptable in N.Z Culture. In our case we are paid much more than minimum wage to perform the task. Having said that I have had anything between $2-80USD offered to me by North American passengers for my services. Personally I am of the opinion that they are lucky to be given anything - particularly with that attitude. The Department of Transport might be interested in the treatment of disabled passengers too. You should only tip what you want to tip, what you can afford, and what you think is the correct value for their service.
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eurowings
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RE: How Much Should You Tip A Wheelchair Assistant

Tue Dec 18, 2012 12:46 pm

I'd say the tipping culture of the country in which the airport is located in is significant. For example, tipping in general tends to be less expected (and the amounts given are less) in the UK and most other European countries when compared to North America. The same can be said of other places.
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LFutia
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RE: How Much Should You Tip A Wheelchair Assistant

Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:38 pm

First and foremost, not everyone is like that. I used to be employed for a wheelchair company based in ORD for AA. My base wage was $5,25/ hour as I was based on tips so yes while we work for the airport, we are a contracted worker for the airline. I've thought that a decent tip of 5 dollars is fine. 10 dollars is generous and a 20 dollar tip is extaordinary. I understand if your tight on money and you'd say thank you.

But if I take you from the plane to baggage claim, pull your bags off the carousel and then to your car for 2 dollars that is just unacceptable.

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airevents
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RE: How Much Should You Tip A Wheelchair Assistant

Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:08 pm

From my experience as a cabin attendant, I have never seen anybody tip the people bringing wheelchair passengers onboard or assisting them to make their own way there. I personally would be impressed by a 10 Dollar tip but then, as others have said before, tipping just isn´t that common over here in Europe.
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airportugal310
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RE: How Much Should You Tip A Wheelchair Assistant

Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:06 am

Quoting airevents (Reply 6):
tipping just isn´t that common over here in Europe.

I'd be curious to know how that came to be if you can point me the right direction...

It is my understanding that waiters/waitresses at restaurants, for example, are paid a regular wage? That could be totally false, but that's just what's been explained to me

thanks!
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airevents
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RE: How Much Should You Tip A Wheelchair Assistant

Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:54 pm

Well, to be honest, I don´t know what the reasons are. As a waiter, you don´t earn a fortune and would be happy about any tip for sure. I worked as a waiter for some time, sometimes there were good tips, sometimes there weren´t. It is perfectly common, at least in Germany, that if you have a meal for say 13.50 Euros to give 14 and that´s it. No questions asked. Tipping cab drivers, hotel staff is much less common over here or at least the amounts are much smaller.

I must say I prefer it that way. As a customer I´d much more prefer the staff serving me to get a decent salary from whoever they work for and don´t really consider it my job to pay them much extra apart from what I have been consuming, unless the service was really outstanding.

On many trips to the US, I received very poor service, still felt more or less obliged to give 15-20 percent tip to someone who was rude or at least not very friendly. In the case of the wheelchair guy above, I would take the 10 Dollars back and walk away. This attitude is disgusting...
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gabrielchew
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RE: How Much Should You Tip A Wheelchair Assistant

Wed Dec 19, 2012 5:28 pm

Quoting airportugal310 (Reply 1):
I would have taken the money right back out of their hands.

Completely agree. I hate the way Americans expect a tip just for doing their jobs. A tip should be in recognition of effort. No effort/rude/late = no/low tip.
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something
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RE: How Much Should You Tip A Wheelchair Assistant

Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:06 pm

Quoting airevents (Reply 8):
I must say I prefer it that way. As a customer I´d much more prefer the staff serving me to get a decent salary from whoever they work for and don´t really consider it my job to pay them much extra apart from what I have been consuming, unless the service was really outstanding.

Couldn't agree more. I expect any business to run their calculations and then price their services accordingly. If a meal at their place costs them €13.50 to produce (the whole value added chain), then that is what they should sell it for. In general, I find this Arab bazar haggling mentality very off putting, annoying and unprofessional.

Ask a price, if you're constantly sold out, raise it. If you have no patrons, lower it. Eventually you'll find an equilibrium price. If you can live with that, you're running a business. If you can't, you're out. But to ask a deceitfully low price, only to later slap a mandatory ''gratuity'' on top of it, then the taxes and then the tip, makes me feel betrayed/deceived. I don't want to bribe people to treat me well.

Find out what price you can place your product on the market for, and then decide if you want to go/be/stay in that business. Everything else is dishonest to yourself and to your customers.

As for the situation at hand.. I wouldn't even have thought of tipping the person. Not because I'm mean, but because it is just not customary around where I live. Had I still done it and received such a response, I would have demanded the money back and complained with his supervisor. If the minimum wage is $7.50, that means he should at least be occupied for 1 1/4 hours for $10. But I doubt it took him more than 20 minutes. Theoretically, that'd amount to $30 in tips (tax free) plus his hourly wage. $35 per hour or so for unskilled labor? I don't think so.
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rwy04lga
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RE: How Much Should You Tip A Wheelchair Assistant

Wed Dec 26, 2012 1:15 am

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 9):
I hate the way Americans expect a tip just for doing their jobs.

Not just Americans, Gabe. Some south Asians at LGA hover like vultures.
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FlyboyOz
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RE: How Much Should You Tip A Wheelchair Assistant

Wed Dec 26, 2012 6:22 am

I was talking to the staff about wheelchair at the international airport. They said that airlines may have to pay US$25 per person for the wheelchair assistant to look after pax at the airport.
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PlymSpotter
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RE: How Much Should You Tip A Wheelchair Assistant

Wed Dec 26, 2012 9:52 pm

Quoting FlyboyOz (Reply 12):
I was talking to the staff about wheelchair at the international airport. They said that airlines may have to pay US$25 per person for the wheelchair assistant to look after pax at the airport

It varies from airport to airport and according to the specific deal they have with ground handling. At some airports it is significantly higher than that - I've seen fees of £50+.


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