When taking passengers to the airport we’ve been asked a time or two: Should I tip the airport wheelchair agent? The short answer is yes, if you can afford it.
Tipping can be a tricky thing—who do you tip and who do you not tip? Airport wheelchair agents are tasked with wheeling sick, injured, or elderly passengers around the airport—from the entrance and onto their flight. Many airports classify wheelchair aids as a tip-wage position, which means employers can legally pay them less than minimum wage. In fact, wheelchair workers at Kennedy Airport were warned that even though minimum wage was increasing to $8 an hour, their pay would remain at $7.25 per hour.
To make things more challenging, according to actual agents in the workforce, the tips they receive are incredibly small. According to 28-year-old airport wheelchair agent Denis Brown, who works at the Kennedy Airport, most people do not tip.
It would be difficult to get from point A to point B without assistance from an airport wheelchair agent, and for that reason alone, it is recommended to tip them at least $2 for their trouble. If they provide additional tasks, such as taking you to the restroom, or stopping by the gift shop to pick up a book for your flight, you may want to consider tipping extra—around $5.
Is Airport Wheelchair Assistance Free?
Yes. It is free to take advantage of airport wheelchair assistance. Airports are required by law to provide wheelchair services to sick, injured, disabled, or elderly passengers. Simply call your airline ahead of the scheduled flight to ensure availability and timeliness of wheelchair agent services. Almost all airports and airlines strongly recommend reserving a wheelchair and aid well in advance.
Forgot to book ahead? You can still visit the airline ticket counter when you arrive to see if there is a wheelchair and agent available at that time to assist you—it is possible that all wheelchairs and aids will already be busy.
How Come So Many People Don’t Tip Wheelchair Agents?
Many people assume it is a service provided by the airline and therefore, since airline tickets are so high, they are less likely to reach into their pockets and tip for the service. Brown told The Daily News that she brings home $50 extra in tips on a good day, but most of the time her tips are between $5 and $15 for the entire day.
Tips for Elderly or Disabled Passengers
- The Aviation Department designates doors for passengers to coordinate pick-up and drop-off locations with Specialized Transportation Services. Schedule a ride to the airport with Stellar Transportation and rest assured, we are well-versed in where to take passengers for quick transfer out of our vehicle and into the airport.
- It is highly recommended to contact the airline you are flying on ahead of your scheduled flight to reserve a wheelchair and agent. By waiting until you arrive, you risk there not being enough wheelchairs or staff to assist you, which could cause you to miss your flight.
- When you call to reserve a chair and agent, this is the time to voice any concerns, questions, or special requests to ensure there are no hiccups when you arrive.
Need a Reliable Ride to the Airport?
Stellar Transportation has you covered! We offer non-emergency medical transportation services, including pick up and drop off from the airport. All our drivers undergo elderly sensitivity training and specialize in wheelchair transportation. Contact us today for a free quote for local or long distance transportation in Melbourne, FL and beyond.