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Airport Lounges

Do You Tip in the Lounge or Don’t You?

Do You Tip in the Lounge or Don’t You?
Jeff Edwards

With in-lounge dining becoming more popular, flyers are confused as to the correct protocol for offering tips to servers. Should you leave a gratuity for good service? Or would it come off as a “crass” move? FlyerTalkers have debated and given their guidelines.

For those flying in first class, a pre-flight stop to the lounge is a requirement for the full experience. But many are starting to offer in-lounge dining options, giving flyers a reason to pause. At the end of the meal, FlyerTalkers want to know: do I need to leave a gratuity?

FlyerTalker killaypirate asked the first question on the forums about dining in the lounge and if tips are necessary. They ask: “Know it’s customary to give 10-20% tip to servers in restaurants. But what is etiquette for tips when using pre-flight dining in lounge?”

Other forum members have debated the topic and the consensus seems to be clear: tipping in lounges is a kind gesture, but not necessary. And when giving a tip, flyers suggest discretion is key.

“Tips are not expected in BA lounges but they are appreciated when offered,” writes FlyerTalker Tobias-UK, an ambassador for British Airways Executive Club.

On a separate forum thread, ThatT1Feeling shares their story of tipping. “Tipping is certainly not expected in the [British Airways Concorde Room] – however I have also tipped one of the ladies in there once when I had a very similar experience,” they write. “I did it out of general eyeshot and very discretely. A well done or Golden Ticket won’t work for the [lounge] staff unfortunately as they don’t work for [British Airways.]”

But what if you find yourself in a lounge in the United States? When flying in America, FlyerTalker madfish sees the tipping situation completely different: “I am sure [another FlyerTalker] tips appropriately where the location and service warrants it,” they note in the discussion. “However, I have never tipped in the [British Airways Concorde Room] but have at JFK (John F. Kennedy International Airport) as it is a different culture.”

Should that same gratuity be offered in flight? Current and former crewmembers recall their experiences, and note that it’s a very rare occurrence, outside of norms and traditions.

“Many years of flying and never had a ‘tip,’” writes CSM_livingthedream. “We often get the odd box of [chocolate] here and there, but never from a full fare customer.”

FlyerTalker BingBongBoy, a former cabin crew member, recalled their experience getting a gratuity on a flight. “When I worked for [British Airways], I only ever got one tip of £10 and it wasn’t on a west Africa route,” they wrote. “Tipping certainly was not a common occurrence on any route that I ever knew about.”

According to FlyerTalk’s best advice, the consensus is clear: while tipping is expected at lounges and restaurants in the United States, those who choose to dine in the lounge as part of their flight experience may not necessarily be under the same pressure. But if you do decide to recognize good service, be sure to give it directly to the server and without much fanfare.

What’s your stance on tipping in the lounge? Share your thoughts on the FlyerTalk Forums!


[Featured Image: Shutterstock]

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