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Tipping a wheel chair attendant, opinons and experiences please

Because of sudden attacks of vertigo causing falls while deplaning both in Miami and Paris, I've used wheel chairs on an emergency basis, meaning the chairs have not been pre-ordered. The operators have been, to a person, helpful and understanding. What's the situation on tipping these nice people?

Posted by
7325 posts

5 euros or 5 dollars, make sure you have a bills or 2 euro coins; try not to make it awkward. They generally make minimum wage

Posted by
10623 posts

Or, of course, $5 in Miami.

Sorry to hear you've had problems. Hope the flying hasn't made it worse!

Posted by
2163 posts

I would absolutely not tip in Paris.

Miami is at your option. There are lot of nice people working at airports who do not expect tips; flight attendants, baggage handlers, and various agents, among many others. People who push wheel chairs are just doing their jobs, just the same as many other people you do not tip.

Posted by
3592 posts

I always tip the wheelchair attendants in whatever airport I am in. The equivalent of $10. More if they've had to push me a long distance or had to take extra time (security, passport control, a bathroom stop). It's hard work. They deserve it, just as a porter who schlepps your bags for you deserves it.

Posted by
536 posts

It's been our experience in Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Bosnia-Herzogovina that we offer tips but are politely refused. People seem genuinely happy to help and appreciate our words of thanks in their languages. I'll be prepared, though. Never know when the person helping you could use an unexpected cup of coffee or an uber ride home instead of the bus.

Posted by
7182 posts

My wife was in a wheelchair last year on our European trip. I preferred to push her and drag a carry on bag throughout the airports. We went to the front of every line--including security, getting on planes and restaurants.
I'm strong and capable of handling it all--where waiting for an attendant might just slow us down.
We've since got her knee replaced, and she just returned from Paris where they were walking 10+ miles per day. Chairs are not always permanent.

Posted by
2612 posts

The standard tip in the US is $10. I would certainly offer the equivalent in Europe.

Posted by
776 posts

All who posted;

Your thoughtful answers are greatly appreciated. Thank you

Posted by
416 posts

During a recent injury, I tipped between $5 and 10 depending on the amount of time it took the attendant ($20 once when there was a very long wait for luggage to come off the plane).

Posted by
3493 posts

The standard tip in the US is $10.

Says who? Who decided this for all of us?

Posted by
2163 posts

I would certainly offer the equivalent in Europe.

Using this logic, would a French person who never tips at home, be correct in not tipping in the USA?

Posted by
423 posts

Speaking as someone who lives in France, it would never occur to me to offer a tip.

I assume I would get away with that in the US too?

Posted by
2612 posts

I would certainly offer the equivalent in Europe.

My quote: That means I would, not you should. It’s an individual choice. I think it’s a lot of work, so I feel better tipping these folks. I do not tip taxi drivers in Europe, and just round up the bill for wait staff. If you travel to the US we tip wait staff, wheelchair attendants, taxi drivers. You are not obligated to do so, but don’t be surprised if you get some blow back as a result.

Posted by
423 posts

i can understand the "wanting to reward good service" thing

I don't understand the "embarassing someone just to make yourself feel better" thing. But now you know, maybe you will think before you tip?

Posted by
3592 posts

I don't understand the "embarassing someone just to make yourself feel
better" thing. But now you know, maybe you will think before you tip?

I have never, nor will I ever embarrass anyone "just to make myself feel better". If I offer someone a tip it is either because it is customary or because I think the person has performed a service in a manner that deserves a tip. And I try to do so in a polite and gracious manner. The person is free to decline the offer if they so choose. The only exception I have made to this is in certain Asian countries where this would be offensive.

I've never had a wheelchair attendant refuse a tip or appear the least embarrassed in any of my encounters in Europe. Including CDG.

Posted by
3493 posts

I alway tip when I get pushed through the airport in a wheelchair. I'm not a small person, so the wheel chair pusher gets a workout. (Luckily, my temporary incapacitation has been truly temporary and I am able to make most of the walks without assistance once again.)

I think a better way of stating tip amount is the amount YOU would tip, not stating it is the standard or customary or correct amount for everyone as if it were posted somewhere like a taxi fare is.

Posted by
2163 posts

If I offer someone a tip it is either because it is customary

That point has been clearly stated that in France, tipping is not customary and in doing so you are putting someone, intentionally or not, in an uncomfortable situation.

Posted by
28777 posts

I don't get the "I tip the wheelchair pusher because it is hard work (paraphrased)". Except when they are outside having a cigarette between calls.

Because it is hard work do you tip the team building a road or cleaning the sewers?

Posted by
3493 posts

In the US, someone building a road or clearing the sewers usually gets paid a decent and proper salary (of course what is decent and proper may vary with your viewpoint and whatever anyone gets paid is never enough in their mind). Those persons pushing people around in airports using wheelchairs make minimum wage or less.

In Houston (a place I go often), the pay for the wheelchair pushers is calculated with the assumption of a specific amount of tips per work shift. It doesn't matter if the employees receive zero tips for the day, their actual pay is calculated as if they got that amount of tip. This means on a slow day, their actual income may be zero. Of course on a busy day they can make a lot more than the minimum wage if they are not taking too many cigarette breaks. Unfortunately, in most of theUS this is an accepted way of paying any employee who works in an environment where tips are expected.

Posted by
2163 posts

If US wheelchair staff are paid $2.13 per hour as service employees, they should be tipped.

However, that is absolutely not the case in France where these people receive retirement, full medical care, 5 weeks paid vacation annually, and a basic wage approximately 4 to 5 times that of their US counterparts.

Posted by
8833 posts

And while we're on the subject: the Sky Caps who check your bags at the curb have traditionally been paid in tips, too, whereas counter workers are employees, whether for the airline or a subcontractor.

Posted by
2612 posts

Mark said it well and Nigel- it seems you have fundamental lack of understanding of tipping in the US versus Europe. In the US tipping is common, pretty much expected, when an individual in a service industry provides that service to you-servers, drivers, hotel maids, concierge, wheelchair attendant, parking attendants and more. My use of “hard work” was probably misleading, but I do think, based on the obesity epidemic evident if you fly in the US, it’s getting pretty hard pushing those folks around! Anyway, tipping is always an individual choice. I think less about embarrassing someone because I tip and it was not expected than not tipping and to be seen as a skinflint.

Posted by
3083 posts

I sincerely doubt that wheelchair assistants anywhere in the world make so much money that they will not appreciate a tip. I am fascinated by this thread. I think I will ask one of my neighbors in Paris who I know needs wheelchair assistance in airports what she does. Is it so hard to believe that wheelchair assistants, like waiters and bartenders, etc., are capable of understanding that Americans might be more likely to tip without feeling embarrassed by being tipped? I have several friends in Paris who are bartenders/servers (no wheelchair assistants, though) and all say that they expects tips from no one but appreciate them when they get them because they can use the money and are not surprised, embarrassed, or offended when Americans tip them.

Posted by
2163 posts

I think less about embarrassing someone because I tip

Ignoring the tipping sensibilities of other cultures and flashing money when inappropriate can be considered as crass and showy. The someone you embarrass might be yourself.

Posted by
8833 posts

Goodness, now we have flashers in our midst.

Posted by
3592 posts

flashing money when inappropriate can be considered as crass and
showy. The someone you embarrass might be yourself.

Seems to me that the person who thinks you can only offer a tip by flashing their money and being showy should indeed be embarrassed. Perhaps you haven't had the opportunity to learn how to tip without making a spectacle of yourself.

Posted by
2612 posts

Flashing money?! For goodness sakes. If you don’t know how to discretely tip someone, well, that’s your problem. I was referring to a comment up thread that said some who are not accustomed to being tipped might be embarrassed by it. It’s a discretely folded bill palmed off, not a “sit up and beg” treat!

Posted by
2163 posts

Does it really make a difference how many times a bill is folded or how small it can be made? In many cultures, service and performing one´s job well is not about cash.

Posted by
8833 posts

The question here is about France, not “many cultures.” We could even expand it to Europe.

Is it expected in France—no. Is it appreciated—yes. Will the worker be insulted, not in France, unless the client acts like a pretentious jerk or jerkess, but in that case the attendant would have a bad impression of the ugly tourist no matter what. Still hesitant that you could insult someone, tell them you appreciate them so much that the Euro or two is for their children or grandchildren.

This tipping discussion always gets stretched way out of proportion. When it comes to France words such as “always” and “never” don’t apply.

However, being discreet does apply. I learned a lot traveling in Sicily with the retired VP of one of France’s most important companies. This French couple very discreetly and warmly thanked waiters and other personnel and included €5 bills handed quietly. Expected—not at all. Appreciated—this couple was so sincere that their words mattered more than the €, but no one was ever insulted by the bills.

Posted by
3549 posts

The standard tip in the US is $10.

That is YOUR standard. I tip $5/€5 when I am not forced to take multiple wheelchairs, golf carts, etc at the airport.

Posted by
2612 posts

That is YOUR standard. I tip $5/€5

Yes you are correct, but I had several jobs when I was young where I depended on tips. So perhaps having had that experience and now being able to afford it I am a more generous tipper than others.

Posted by
3549 posts

Yes you are correct, but I had several jobs when I was young where I
depended on tips. So perhaps having had that experience and now being
able to afford it I am a more generous tipper than others.

You just made my point as for you, it's personally important for you to tip $10 given your own personal experience you described above.