Do you tip a charter pilot?

Discussion in '' started by chuckd, Mar 25, 2007.

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  1. chuckd

    chuckd Karting

    May 8, 2006
    Full Name:
    Recently, we took our first private chartered jet flight, and at the end, we seemed to have an awkward moment with the pilots. Sort of that 'where's my tip' kind of moment.

    Are you supposed to tip these guys? I wouldn't think so, considering how much you're paying to begin with, and they aren't exactly poorly paid themselves. Then again, if it's customary, I'd sure like to know.

    Thanks guys,

  2. FerrariWA

    FerrariWA Formula Junior

    Dec 14, 2004
    Full Name:
    Thomas Summerfield
    I havnt had the opportunity to take a privete jet anywhere, but from what I have heard from people that have, the general rule is that you dont tip EXPECT when they are working on holidays or really unusual hours. Some will probably have a different take.
  3. Mike J

    Mike J Formula Junior

    May 10, 2005
    Ship Bottom, NJ
    Full Name:
    No, with the exception of travel over significant holidays.
  4. osuav8r

    osuav8r Karting

    Feb 16, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Full Name:
    Not sure who you chartered the plane with, but the crew probably makes nowhere near what you might think they would. If it was a smaller jet ie learjet or equivalent, the captain probably is making 55k or so tops. The copilot almost for sure less than 30 and probably closer to 20k a year. It's not the rockstar money that a lot of people think it is. All that said, I don't think you should feel obligated to tip and it would be wrong of the crew to make you the slightest bit uncomfortable about not tipping. I think you might have misread their expression since I wouldn't think most charter pilots would expect a tip. It definately happens, but it's the exception to the rule.
  5. BlueBiturbo

    BlueBiturbo F1 Rookie

    May 19, 2004
    Full Name:
    My friend tipped the pilot $1000 when he flew from LA to Vegas. I thought that was the norm.
  6. carless

    carless Guest

    May 20, 2005
    So. Ca.
    Full Name:
    I have a friend that fly’s a king air and makes 65-75k a year. You tip everyone else why not the guy with your life in his hands.
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  8. QT3141

    QT3141 Formula Junior

    Jul 24, 2006
    Because he has his life in his hands as well. :D There's no "extra" incentive needed to fly the plane safely, if you get my meaning. :)
  9. Kingair33

    Kingair33 Formula Junior

    Aug 28, 2006
    San Francisco, CA
    Full Name:
    If they busted their azz for you and had to throw bags instead of the line guys doing it, then defiantly you should. Ohh and it is ok to tip line guys too…but if you tend to tip the pilots sometimes they will tip the line guys. Certain companies give the pilots a 'tip fund' however to tip line guys or whoever else throughout the trip.
  10. UroTrash

    UroTrash Three Time F1 World Champ
    Consultant Owner

    Jan 20, 2004
    Full Name:
    Internet Poseur
    The question is:

    Are these guys professionals or workers?

    If they are professionals: no tip.

    If they are labor-worker types: tip.

    Wonder what they consider themselves?
  11. mambodave

    mambodave Formula Junior

    Jun 3, 2005
    Charlotte NC
    Full Name:
    Im working on my Private License... and Ive been hangin out with several charter pilots. Its not common practice.

    MOST of these guys dont fly for the money. They are flying charters and for hire flights to rack up hours.
  12. bpu699

    bpu699 F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed

    Dec 9, 2003
    Full Name:
    Tipping you pilot...seriously? Not like I am in any position to give personal experience, but:

    Do you tip your accountant?

    Do you tip your lawyer?

    Do you tip your doctor?

    Tips are for folks in the service industry who rely on that as part of their income. If you are going to start tipping pilots, you best tip everyone you come in contact with.
  13. MYMC

    MYMC Formula Junior

    Mar 10, 2006
    Full Name:
    I have aircraft on leaseback for 135 charter and it would seem that the younger guys are looking for this much more than the older guys. If you receive service above and beyond what you expect then tip, but it is not expected.

    BTW, starting pay for a "co-captain" at most charter services and even commuter airlines is about $24,000 per year...the guys getting into this are not doing it for the money.
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  15. Hunters360

    Hunters360 Formula Junior

    Nov 18, 2004
    Full Name:
    James Wardwell
    I just flew from Boston to Orlando on Jet blue, I gave the co pilot and the pilot $20 each for there trouble...Are you kidding me why would a Pilot get tipped? Do you tip your Doctor or your mechanic. They are a professional where they receive adequate comp for there job.
  16. sanmigmike

    sanmigmike Rookie

    Sep 13, 2005
    If you don't like the idea of tipping, call it a "bonus" like our CEO eh, make you feel better not tipping a professional. If you really don't like tipping don't charter, stick to the airlines and if you really hate tipping dine at Mac's understand they don't take tips there.
  17. Craigy

    Craigy Formula 3

    Mar 19, 2006
    Full Name:
    Yeah that sounds about right.

    I never liked taking tips though, even when I made less than minimum wage digging ditches for a pool company :D If it's my job, then I shouldn't get a tip, the customer has already paid for the service (and has paid pretty well for it, too).

    If the job description lists pay as tips, sure. If the person makes a real salary, a tip is reserved for the occasion that you feel A) that the product was above and beyond expectation and/or B) very generous.

    But hey if someone likes to piss away money, he can tip all he wants, provided it's not my money. ;)
  18. donv

    donv F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Jan 5, 2002
    Portland, Oregon
    Full Name:
    I've been a charter pilot in various jets and turboprops for almost 20 years now (actually I started more than 20 years ago, but I took a few years off in the middle).

    Tips should never be expected. If you happen to be feeling generous, or the crew goes above and beyond the call of duty, a tip is nice and appreciated, but is NOT the norm.

    If the crew was hanging around as you left the airplane or airport, don't assume they were waiting for a tip. In all probability, they were making sure that your ground transportation was there and ready and that your bags were loaded into the correct vehicle. At my company, we stress in our training that our responsibility for the passenger's travel needs doesn't end until they have driven away in their car or limo.
  19. drjohngober

    drjohngober Formula 3

    Jul 23, 2006
    Cville and Gbury Tex
    Full Name:
    Dr.John Gober
    When we travel , we usually bring each flight crew member back a nice bottle of wine of something of local fare on the return flight home, or if we know where they are dining one evening I will make arrangements to pick up the dinner tab for them. They always seem to appreciate those unexpected gestures and tolerate my aviation questions on the way back home.
  20. LightGuy

    LightGuy Two Time F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Oct 4, 2004
    Full Name:
    I used to work as a maintenance scheduler for BJS. (only job I ever quit ).
    The pilots make next to nothing in comparison to what they spend on education.
    You tip your Taxi driver, why not give them $100 or so.
    Compared to the cost of a charter, thats chump change.
  21. 2000YELLOW360

    2000YELLOW360 F1 World Champ
    Consultant Owner

    Jun 5, 2001
    I generally fly myself. However, I always tip the line people, because they do things well over and above what you'd normally expect. They bring the car to the plane, help load the bags, make sure that the fuel has been added, and in general make your life a lot easier.

    I don't know about the pilots, but generally when I get good service, I tip. Those folks flying the plane are doing their best to make sure that you arrive on time, and safely.

    I'd have tipped them.

  22. MYMC

    MYMC Formula Junior

    Mar 10, 2006
    Full Name:
  23. James_Woods

    James_Woods F1 World Champ

    May 17, 2006
    Dallas, Tx.
    Full Name:
    James K. Woods
    In Oklahoma, this was pretty much common practice -- (in the boom days of the late 70s and early 80s).

    You should have seen the amount of red mud that got tracked into the helicopter or airplane! We figured it was the least we could do for making such a mess out of a nice interior.
  24. ferraripanoz

    ferraripanoz Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed

    Sep 24, 2004
    Full Name:
    I wouldn't base it off that. They don't get tipped usually. The general rule of thumb is that if they do something out of the ordinary or if you are a generous person then you tip them.
  25. captn

    captn Rookie

    Aug 6, 2017
    Hi all! An old thread yes, but I'll chime in for the internet readers.

    "We're not in it for the money..."
    A waiter or concierge "in it for the money" would not have the right personality and would fail; there needs to be some passion in what you do. It's true pilots are passionate about flying and that's what makes us successful and safe. Charter pilots are different than airline pilots in that we enjoy the personal interactions and the uniqueness of each mission.

    "Service workers or professionals..."
    Both. An airline pilot is a professional. A charter crew (pilots and cabin attendants included) are professionals choosing to also provide direct customer service to create a personal experience.

    "I don't tip my Jet Blue pilot..."
    That's true, and you don't tip a public bus driver usually either while you do tip a private limo service. A private jet pilot does a lot more than fly the plane. The crew takes care of all flight planning into remote airports you desire to go to, load your bags, organize your catering, clean the toilets, cosmetic maintenance and cleaning, etc. The cabin attendants I work with review passenger's birthdates and love to provide surprises for upcoming birthdays. We review any notes in our database for allergies and plan accordingly. There is a lot of customer service elements involved in flying private charter and the personalities that prefer to go to the big airlines don't cut it in high end charter. All this besides the fact that we are responsible for all the lives aboard and take great care in planning the trip as well as reacting appropriately to unexpected situations.

    While the service we enjoy providing is high-end, the pay is not. This is partly because of the passion in the industry; young pilots all want to fly so they accept meager wages. We were all there and it doesn't last. Being away from home when you're 22 and single is different from when you're in a relationship and own a home. And trust me you want a stable crew in the cockpit anyway, not a 22 year old hot dog with no one to come home to. Those personalities can fly cargo until they get it out of their system.

    We have families we provide for and are away from at least one week at a time. Enjoy flying or not at the end of the day feeding and clothing my family comes first. Tips help bridge the gap and more than anything are an important symbol of appreciation that keeps morale up when you've been away from home and your loved ones 12 days covering someone else's shift so that you don't have your flight interrupted.

    "Tipping the Pilots more than your Cabin Attendant"
    We see the cabin attendants bust there butts preparing for the flight and we tip share anything we get that's greater than they got. Keep it equal across the crew or hand one lump to the Captain and we will divide it up.

    If it's going to be cash, $100 each is the bare minimum, although I've seen $100 per pilot and then only $50 for the cabin attendant (from a total of 10 passengers). Ask yourself how much you would have tipped your waiter at a nice restaurant you sat at with 9 family members and were waited on for 4 hours. With wine, that easily is a $2,000 dinner @ 20% tip = $400. And that's just at a restaurant.

    3% - 5% of your trip is fair for the crew to split and much appreciated. If you're on small Citation for 1 hour with 1 other person you probably spent $7,000 and you can tip 3% which would be about $100 per pilot as it's a 2 crew operation. If you're on a Gulfstream or Challenger for 4 hours with 10 people you may have spent $60,000 and should tip 5% for the work of taking care of 10 people which would come out to $1000 per crew member including the cabin attendant.

    If you want to keep quality pilots at your favorite charter operator then tip. If you want a fresh batch of rookies constantly making the same newbie mistakes with your most precious cargo on board, by all means drive us away to the airlines for the better pay.
  26. lear60man

    lear60man Formula 3

    May 29, 2004
    Los Angeles
    Full Name:
    If there is a gratuity line in the charter quote, you can be sure it will never get to the crew. Im speaking of brokers specifically.

    We have a few regulars who tip. As a crew, we will go the extra mile to accommodate them. Im talking about moving days off etc because they request us and our aircraft specifically. The money isnt a life changer, but more like an acknowledgement of the superior service we provide.

    I tip airline flight attendants a $50 here and there. Guess who gets treated like royalty in coach?
  27. donv

    donv F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Jan 5, 2002
    Portland, Oregon
    Full Name:
    This thread is a blast from the past!

    I no longer do charter, but when I did, I will reiterate that tipping was always appreciated but never expected. Maybe that's changed, though.

    Personally, I have a bias against tipping, both as tipper and tippee. I recognize that it's a social norm, and that many people's incomes are structured in such a way that it's an expected part of their income stream, and that's the world se live in. So point is, I do tip.

    I just wish we lived in a society where tipping wasn't necessary and wasn't expected, and people were paid a wage that was appropriate for their life. I always find tipping to be an annoying, informal, and somewhat awkward custom. Who do you tip and how much? It's just a pain. It would be so much easier to do away with it and just pay 20% more on the bill.

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