Wheelchair assistance requested - should we tip?

Old Nov 28, 17, 6:27 am
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Wheelchair assistance requested - should we tip?

[Mods: I'd be very grateful if you could let this run for a few days. I asked in the Disability Forum about three weeks ago without response. I'm pretty sure BA FTers will have relevant advice. Thanks.]

We have wheelchair assistance requested for bookings via LHR T5, LHR T3, ZRH, HEL, CPT and JNB in the next few weeks. I'd not thought about tipping the helper in the past, but comments in the Disability Travel forum suggest that in the US at least, tipping is normal.

What would BA FTers do? I believe some helpers are airport staff and others are volunteers. We want to do the right thing. Grateful for your advice.
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Old Nov 28, 17, 6:31 am
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What's your own gut instinct Roger? Follow that I say and personally in your case I would. I know someone who does it for a living and he gets tips, especially from Americans, which are always appreciated.
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Old Nov 28, 17, 6:33 am
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Sorry to say in the US you can't walk through an open door these days without someone expecting a tip.

Personally my view is that it's included in the airport charges you pay. To expect someone straight off a long haul flight to be rummaging around for change for a tip is to me a touch unrealistic.
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Old Nov 28, 17, 6:38 am
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Gosh, that was quick! Thanks, both.

My instinct is not to tip, a lesson learned in Australia many years ago when a waitperson cheerfully explained that he didn't need my tip as he earned a decent wage.

I think it's also a cultural thing - Japan and Australia on one side, the US on the other. (Not saying either is right or wrong.) Our ex-military man in Oslo was a volunteer. I don't know about our helper at CPT, but she struggled. OTOH the buggies at LHR T5 and DOH had uniformed employees as drivers.
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Old Nov 28, 17, 6:46 am
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I would say not. You need this service because of a disability therefore it is provided for you. If we all used the service eg tipping waiters/hairdressers I might agree.
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Old Nov 28, 17, 6:48 am
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I would not tip, unless the service provided is really exceptional. These services are paid for in what the airline pays for takeoff and landing, or in your ticket price.
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Old Nov 28, 17, 6:48 am
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CPT/JNB i would most differently tip.
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Old Nov 28, 17, 6:55 am
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No, the staff should be paid a decent wage and it's not really expected in the UK for services like this. If you feel strongly about it then go ahead but don't feel obliged.

Hope you have a great trip.
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Old Nov 28, 17, 7:38 am
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I don’t think you should tip for this service.
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Old Nov 28, 17, 8:05 am
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Originally Posted by Ancient Observer View Post
I would not tip, unless the service provided is really exceptional. These services are paid for in what the airline pays for takeoff and landing, or in your ticket price.
Indeed. Most (European) airports have a specific PRM charge within the aggregate fee for each departing passenger. This is aimed at cost recovery of providing the PRM service.

(Passengers with Reduced Mobility)
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Old Nov 28, 17, 9:06 am
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Originally Posted by Worcester View Post
No, the staff should be paid a decent wage and it's not really expected in the UK for services like this. If you feel strongly about it then go ahead but don't feel obliged.

Hope you have a great trip.
I have to say that in many locations, e.g. JNB and CPT the staff are reliant upon tips to achieve a decent living (by local, not International standards). By all means, Worcester, keepyour hands in your pockets, but perhaps you should at least be a tad slower to insist that others adopt your approach.
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Old Nov 28, 17, 9:10 am
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At least in the US, do tip. A buck at least. These people are not paid a significant wage, usually minimum wage. I do not know for sure but if the employer can prove they are usually tipped, then they can be paid only $2.13 an hour. I was a Server for 6 months in a restaurant and that was my wage from the restaurant. And it all goes to taxes. Never saw an actual check.
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Old Nov 28, 17, 9:14 am
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To be quite honest I have tipped for this service despite being told it wasn't required, HKG assistant almost held out her hand for a tip"
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Old Nov 28, 17, 9:21 am
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My Mum is in a wheelchair and practically deaf and when we travel (always with me in attendance) needs assistance such as the AmbuLift if there is no airbridge, getting from A to B in terminals and expediting getting through immigration and security.

We use assistance in:

Aberdeen (departure and arrival) - never tipped.
Transit in Heathrow T5 - never tipped.

Madrid, Malaga and Granada departures - never tipped. Why? I typically get her to the gate then they help from there; not so much for then to do, unless it's an non-airbridge boarding, when we need the van and ambulift. But haven't tipped then either.

Madrid, Malaga and Granada arrivals. I have tipped. Why? Plane to immigration (train if Madrid T4S), baggage claim and then exit can be very time consuming (not so much in Granada) and I cant handle a wheelchair, carry-on and checked luggage. Typically 5 Euros and always gratefully received.
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Old Nov 28, 17, 9:23 am
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Originally Posted by bradleykhofmann View Post
At least in the US, do tip. A buck at least. These people are not paid a significant wage, usually minimum wage. I do not know for sure but if the employer can prove they are usually tipped, then they can be paid only $2.13 an hour. I was a Server for 6 months in a restaurant and that was my wage from the restaurant. And it all goes to taxes. Never saw an actual check.
The minimum wage in the US for jobs that have an expectation of tips is generally much lower than the regular minimum wage. It is also assumed that people in those jobs will make a certain amount in tips and they are viewed with suspicion if they do not declare at least that much income to the revenue. The law in Wisconsin requires that the employer must make the wage up to the regular minimum if the tips are insufficient. That minimum is however only $7.25/hour.
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