Special assistance – to tip or not to tip ?Back to Forum
I now need special assistance when travelling which, in general, works very well but I sometimes feel awkward about tipping the helper(s). In Faro I offered a tip after above average service and it was refused with the comment ” No thank you, this is our job which we enjoy” whereas in Dubai a tip was virtually demanded. None of the U.K. airports have even hinted at a tip. What is others experience ?12 Aug 2021
In USA tip is expected everywhere, so one can safely tip whatever amount one wants.
In Asia Pacific countries tips are normally not expected and many will shy away and will not take.
And from India to Middle East and Europe, even if it not expected, tips are normally accepted.
So if you want to tip, just tip. For any special assistance received, IMO it is always better to tip. It will be rare that tip will be refused; may be only in Japan and in a very few countries.13 Aug 2021
“………………may be only in Japan and in a very few countries”
That’s right – I left a tip on a plate when I left a restaurant in Japan, only to look back after I left and see a waiter running down the street waving the money and calling out to me as I walked away.13 Aug 2021
My mother is a firm believer in tipping, and hands a tip to the helper as soon as she settles into the wheelchair. She says she gets excellent service after that. Her travels take her to LHR, DEL and SIN, and tips have always been appreciated at these airports.16 Aug 2021
Personally I dislike intently the ‘tipping’ cloture the USA.
There if the service is excellent and significantly above normal expectation I ‘tip’ well.
For adequate service in restaurants I leave may leave a small tip but not even close to the 10-20% demanded by most.
For poor service of any type I resolutely will not tip and will very possibly complain to senior management.
Over the years I have had lets say some ‘very stimulating’ conversations in the USA.
Elsewhere I find that justified complaints are by-and-large handled well and tips not expected.
To address RoyC’s query above. I believe that help ‘services’ for which employees are payed should never be ‘tipped’ as to do so leads to general expectation and ultimately generally poor service. Also the tip may be of no consequence to the tipper but what about the next person who cannot afford to tip the expectant employee = often generaly poor service to all.
1 user thanked author for this post.18 Aug 2021
several years ago, I had to arrange for someone to be medivac’d on a commercial flight Orlando to Gatwick. The insurance company involved were brilliant, arranged everything and I was assured all costs from the wheel chair, to all airport assistance and most importantly cash incidentals needed at the airport (i.e. tips) had been taken care of in advance.
I accompanied the passenger via hospital transportation to the airport, wheel chair at kerbside and made the fatal error of thanking the wheel chair porter for looking after the passenger and mentioned that I knew the insurance company were looking after him, but here is a little extra. The reply that came back, “will your passenger have the tips for the 2 other porters involved when going airside or would I like to cover those in advance”.
The passenger told me afterwards, the porter still held his hand out for another tip and there were no other porters airside. The passenger told me she took the porters hand, said thank you and reminded him he had been tipped already and for his non existent colleagues.
Although its American mentality, it did not sit very comfortably with me…
1 user thanked author for this post.18 Aug 2021
Never have I encountered anyone anywhere who was offended by a tip or the size of a tip. I gave a tour bus driver twenty euro once because he made a U-turn in the middle of the Champs-Elysees in the middle of thousands of crazed soccer fans. He wanted us to be in position to see the Tour Eiffel light up. Occasionally someone has said ‘no thank you’, so I just thank them again and move on. My tips are delivered with genuine gratitude for whatever extra service has been performed for me. I never tip anyone who is just doing a job they’re compensated for. OTOH, my New York husband tips everybody all the time. That’s what he’s comfortable with. If you want to tip, give whatever amount you are comfortable with. If you’re comfortable not tipping, then don’t tip. It’s all about the comfort level of the tipper … this never-ending debate is puzzling to me. If you are the gullible type who tips at a self-service fast-food establishment because there’s a little sign there, by all means tip away for no service at all. Up until the virus disaster, hotels were on a campaign to force guests to tip housekeeping for regular service … some people thought this was a good thing because housekeepers aren’t paid very well. If it makes you happy to contribute to someone’s welfare, go for it and tip whatever and whomever you wish.19 Aug 2021
SimonRowberryParticipant20 Aug 2021
Tipping is not about what the tipper is comfortable with. Tipping is about fulfilling the implicit contract with the person who serves you and this varies country by country and service by service. In some countries, the person who serves you may receive no salary (or something way below minimum wage) on the expectation that he/she will be paid directly by the client. This is the case in US restaurants: the waiter/waitress is paid about 4 USD per hour by the restaurant (less than three GBP) and the real pay comes in the form of tips. If you don’t tip, the waiter has to sleep on the street and eat from dumpsters. The base (minimum) tip is 15%, superior service is 20%; less than 15% means you should have summoned the restaurant manager. In France, on the other hand, waiter/waitresses receive a full salary from their employer (not a fantastic one but still a full salary). Nonetheless, it is common practice to leave a small tip on top of that (the coin change if you ordered a cup of coffee, 5% if you ordered a meal). So, in the US, the “tip” is the waiter’s pay. In France, a tip is just a tip. In Japan, hotel porters will usually refuse a tip and may be embarrassed if you offer one. In most of Africa (Conakry, Guinea, for instance), the porters waiting to carry your briefcase at the entrance of hotels and ministries are not paid at all. What you give them is their sole compensation. Bottom line: it is important to do research each time you visit a new country. It is annoying and complicated because you have to think of each service you will receive (for instance, do you tip the 90 years old man who puts your luggage in the shuttle van at Phoenix Airport in Arizona? You do – $1 assuming you travel alone). But as complicated as it may be, knowing what to tip in each occasion is as necessary as checking visa rules or ensuring that your passport is still valid for six months after you enter certain countries. If you don’t, you set yourself for embarrassment if not trouble. This is not about your preference; this is about rules.26 Aug 2021
LetsGoOutside and jsn55
Thank you both for your very informative tipping advice. It will be very useful for even me, who has been in over 80 countries.
However, I hope that you are not offended if I request that you, and anyone else who posts long, but very informative posts such as yours, breaks them up into convenient paragraphs. It’s so much easier for old chaps like me to read. Thanks.26 Aug 2021
maxgeorgeParticipant26 Aug 2021
I absolutely detest the tipping culture in the US! So not only do we have to pay to eat in someones establishment we effectively have to pay their staff as well? Once in Las Vegas waiting for my car to be bought up they were offering the people waiting in the sweltering heat “free water” albeit it wasn’t free as the porter was expecting a tip for the pleasure of drinking the water!!
To be clear I dont mind tipping if the service is excellent, what I hate is the expectation that someone thinks it doesn’t matter what service I give you I am going to expect a tip, which gets right on my nerves!
Here in Asia, there is no tipping culture, in fact all restaurants add 10% to the bill, if you were not satisfied with the service you can ask to remove it but generally it is never done, taxis and other services dont expect and therefore none is offered.
Is it still 10-15% in the UK I have forgotten haven’t been there in so long?27 Aug 2021