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Airline Club tipping etiquette

Airline Club tipping etiquette

Old Jun 1, 13, 12:22 pm
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Airline Club tipping etiquette

I'm a new UCC member. I noticed that some clubs don't have self-service soft drinks. You have to get it from the bartender at the bar.

I understand the normal tipping etiquette is $1/drink for alcoholic drinks. Do you follow the same for non-alcoholic drinks?

I usually just get a diet coke, but always feel weird when getting it from the bar because I'm unsure if I should tip or not. $1 tip for a cup of less than a can of soda seems excessive.

I've met other travelers who tell me they tip regardless what they get because "they work so hard for it". Not sure I fully agree with that (regarding getting a soda, not against bartenders in general).

Just curious what other people do.

Thanks,

Tom9984

Last edited by tom9984; Jun 1, 13 at 12:27 pm
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Old Jun 1, 13, 12:44 pm
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Originally Posted by tom9984 View Post
I'm a new UCC member. I noticed that some clubs don't have self-service soft drinks. You have to get it from the bartender at the bar.

I understand the normal tipping etiquette is $1/drink for alcoholic drinks. Do you follow the same for non-alcoholic drinks?

I usually just get a diet coke, but always feel weird when getting it from the bar because I'm unsure if I should tip or not. $1 tip for a cup of less than a can of soda seems excessive.

I've met other travelers who tell me they tip regardless what they get because "they work so hard for it". Not sure I fully agree with that (regarding getting a soda, not against bartenders in general).

Just curious what other people do.

Thanks,

Tom9984
I think the standard is 20% of the retail value of whatever you're getting or at least $1. So for soda I would say definitely $1, beer $2, mixed drinks and wine $3-5
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Old Jun 1, 13, 12:50 pm
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Originally Posted by kenn0223 View Post
I think the standard is 20% of the retail value of whatever you're getting or at least $1. So for soda I would say definitely $1, beer $2, mixed drinks and wine $3-5
But a tip based on the retail value of a glass of UA plonk (IMO your $3-5 estimate is too high) seems a little stingy. I used to tip a dollar.

Or is that what you meant?
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Old Jun 1, 13, 1:03 pm
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I always tip $1 for alcoholic beverages, no tip if it is for soft drinks.
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Old Jun 1, 13, 1:04 pm
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Originally Posted by tom9984 View Post
I'm a new UCC member. I noticed that some clubs don't have self-service soft drinks. You have to get it from the bartender at the bar.

I understand the normal tipping etiquette is $1/drink for alcoholic drinks. Do you follow the same for non-alcoholic drinks?

I usually just get a diet coke, but always feel weird when getting it from the bar because I'm unsure if I should tip or not. $1 tip for a cup of less than a can of soda seems excessive.

I've met other travelers who tell me they tip regardless what they get because "they work so hard for it". Not sure I fully agree with that (regarding getting a soda, not against bartenders in general).

Just curious what other people do.

Thanks,

Tom9984
I never tip for soft drinks.
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Old Jun 1, 13, 1:13 pm
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I think this will be an interesting thread and I expect the amounts will be somewhat geographically based.

By retail I ment what you'd pay at another bar. I am not sure where you'd find a bar that serves house wine for $3...maybe somewhere. Here in Boston you'd be hard pressed to find a glass of wine anywhere for less than $8. I'd say at most restaurants the house wine goes for $9-12 and better wines are $12-15/glass.

Taking a step back...I think its someplace between cheap and [insert your own term that is far worse than cheap] to pay $400+ for a membership in an airport lounge (or $X00s for a international flight) and then be light on the tips. The bartender (who we all know to be a non-union contractor) is likely making less than minimum wage in most states (since they are expected to earn tips). Surely, if they are fast and friendly, you can afford to ponny up more than a dollar.

If you don't like the quality of what United serves take that up (or out) on United and not the service staff that dool it out.
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Old Jun 1, 13, 1:16 pm
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Originally Posted by kenn0223 View Post
I think the standard is 20% of the retail value of whatever you're getting or at least $1. So for soda I would say definitely $1, beer $2, mixed drinks and wine $3-5
If you're tipping this way in bars, you're probably in a pretty high percentile. Not that that's a bad thing.
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Old Jun 1, 13, 1:28 pm
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I don't tip for non-alcoholic drinks.

Originally Posted by kenn0223 View Post
The bartender (who we all know to be a non-union contractor) is likely making less than minimum wage in most states (since they are expected to earn tips).
Past discussion on FT suggests that UC employees are not subject to (or perhaps more accurately, subjected to?) minimum wage tip credit.
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Old Jun 1, 13, 1:39 pm
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Most airline lounges in the world (developed world, at least) are self service, which IMHO is a much better arrangement. It's nothing against any particular bartender, but I cannot see why one should pay money for the disutility of having to use a bartender.
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Old Jun 1, 13, 1:43 pm
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i don't tip on soft drinks. I wouldn't pay a dollar for 4 oz of soda itself anywhere, so I don't see why you'd pay more than the underlying item is worth in tip. That they make you go to the bar to get them is silly, especially in the hubs.

I also tend not to drink in the clubs. The alcohol they serve is of generally low quality (both the wine and booze).
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Old Jun 1, 13, 1:44 pm
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Originally Posted by SJOFlyer View Post
I always tip $1 for alcoholic beverages, no tip if it is for soft drinks.
+1

It would be nice, for soft drinks at least, to have a little self-serve station like QF/BA/LH/etc. Americans love soda! ;-)
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Old Jun 1, 13, 1:45 pm
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Originally Posted by lhrsfo View Post
Most airline lounges in the world (developed world, at least) are self service, which IMHO is a much better arrangement. It's nothing against any particular bartender, but I cannot see why one should pay money for the disutility of having to use a bartender.
^ That's the puritanical US alcohol laws for you - so many places where that's not allowed.

The LH lounge in IAD is hilarious - open bar next to the food just like in every other LH lounge, but with a big warning sign posted saying that you must ask one of the staff to pour your drink due to Virginia laws.
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Old Jun 1, 13, 1:45 pm
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I too am a Diet Coke drinker, with lime. Sometimes I don't tip, if just grabbing a quick refreshment during a short stop-over in the club. If I have time, usually I order two right away, and sometimes down one while standing at the bar (of course, only if no one else in line) - then I tip $1. If I have a long layover and plan on a couple trips to the bar I'll tip $2 on the first visit.
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Old Jun 1, 13, 2:34 pm
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aaahh good ol tipping at the UC thread #122, which as always will quickly evolve into calling those who dont tip at the UC cheapskates and such.

Thankfully this tipping anyone and their uncle regardless of service disease is confined mostly to the USA.

Imagine you tried to tip the champagne bar attendant at the HKG CX F lounge... how foolish you would look!
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Old Jun 1, 13, 2:40 pm
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I always tip $1 per drink for booze. For soda, I leave $1 for the first one and don't tip on refills unless it's one of the regulars whom I like.
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