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The etiquette of interacting with the line personnel wasn't really taught to me during flight training, and I feel that every time I ask for line service, I'm doing something wrong by not tipping. I don't travel with groups or other pilots very often, so I don't see this in practice...

Do line workers in the United States expect tips for service (fuel/parking) from GA pilots?

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    $\begingroup$ There are a lot of discussions in various forums about this, and lots of opinions. The general consensus seems to be that it's not expected for basic fuel/parking service, but cleaning, carrying bags, driving you somewhere etc. definitely deserves a tip. But plenty of people tip for all service, just because they can or to support the FBO in some way. I once locked myself out of a C172 and a tall, thin line guy opened the baggage door and somehow contorted his upper body in far enough to open the pilot's door by using a towbar to pull the locking lever. That was well worth 20 bucks! $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Oct 11 '17 at 23:31
  • $\begingroup$ You don't have self-service avgas where you fly? $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Oct 13 '17 at 5:11
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I've never tipped for aircraft refuelling or other line services, and have never been criticized or looked at the wrong way for not doing so. That said, tipping in the US has nothing to do with the industry in which the person works; it's a personal reward for good service, and it is both appreciated as well as remembered the next time you are there.

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    $\begingroup$ FWIW, I'd say the industry is definitely relevant. 15-18% is expected as standard for restaurant service, for example, but not necessarily in other situations. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Oct 11 '17 at 23:25
  • $\begingroup$ In some countries tipping is considered an insult. That's happened to me in Japan when I tried to tip an older taxi driver. Learned my lesson -real- quick. :) $\endgroup$ Oct 12 '17 at 23:59
  • $\begingroup$ BTW, the biggest difference between the restaurant and FBO services when it comes to tipping is that people in restaurants have come to expect tips regardless of the quality of service. I have been known to walk right out of a restaurant that says its policy is to add x% to the bill automatically for tipping. I do not tip automatically, ever, and if a restaurant ever tries to add a tip to a bill without my consent I scratch it out and revise the total to what I think appropriate. If they still try to charge me the tip, I dispute the bill and the restaurant always loses. $\endgroup$ Oct 13 '17 at 14:30
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    $\begingroup$ That 'expectation' is so deeply ingrained in the US that the government allows businesses to pay below minimum wage to tipped staff because it's assumed that tips will make up the difference. You can disagree with that policy if you like, and only eat in states or restaurants that pay full federal minimum wage, but it's not very realistic. To keep this aviation-related, automatically adding tips to the bill seems especially common in airports, because foreigners don't know the background and 'short' the staff by not tipping. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Oct 13 '17 at 14:47
  • $\begingroup$ The reason for the policy is to encourage service staff to do what they are supposed to do, provide good service. Not tipping for bad service is not "shorting." $\endgroup$ Oct 14 '17 at 15:34

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