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IS TIPPING SWA STAFF ALLOWED?

Craftychick
New Arrival

I'm going to be receiving wheelchair assistance from SWA staff.  Are they allowed to accept a monetary tip of appreciation?

3 REPLIES 3

Re: IS TIPPING SWA STAFF ALLOWED?

elijahbrantley
Rising Star

For wheelchair assistance, absolutely! I see how hard those folks work, so I appreciate you thinking of them. I’m sure they will too!

-A List Preferred, Companion Pass holder, Community Champion.

Re: IS TIPPING SWA STAFF ALLOWED?

DancingDavidE
Top Contributor

@elijahbrantley wrote:

For wheelchair assistance, absolutely! I see how hard those folks work, so I appreciate you thinking of them. I’m sure they will too!


To clarify a little, most of the airport staff who provide wheelchairs are direct through the airport although Southwest coordinates their pickups. These staff appreciate and perhaps depend on tips.

 

Curbside check-in also is appropriate for tipping.

 

I have heard that it is also allowed for flight attendants, if not the norm to do so. Southwest has sent out "kicktail" coupons (same format as drink coupons) to frequent flyers which can be given to Southwest staff and I heard that these coupons can be redeemed for entries into prize giveaways. 

 

Another approach for non-traditional tipping situation is for a small gift like a starbucks giftcard or small keepsake or packaged food item. (At the hospital you can't tip the nurses, but you can bring a baked good that they share in the staff lounge...might not be practical for air travel though!)

 

For anyone else wearing a Southwest uniform in the airport I'm not sure. They may not be able to accept gratuities - ask them first and they may appreciate being asked, but may not be able to accept a cash tip. If you ask two or three times and the answer is still "no" then thank them for their assistance, take their name down and send a Twitter or Facebook thanking them for helping you which I think can benefit the staff if you note their name, airport, and approximate time or flight number.

 

 

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.

Re: IS TIPPING SWA STAFF ALLOWED?

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

[Edited to add:] The following is my opinion. I do not know if official Southwest policy allows their FAs to accept tips, although I've been told that they are supposed to decline them, unless pressed by the passenger. Policy aside, IMHO it's still inappropriate to tip an FA with cash.

 

Curbside check-in and wheelchair attendants: Yes. (These are not actually Southwest employees, and they depend on tips for their income.)

 

Flight attendants or anyone else in official Southwest uniform: No. FAs are onboard primarily for your safety, and as trained professionals it's not appropriate to tip them. You can, however, give them small gifts such as DancingDavidE mentioned -- I've found that many seem to really enjoy receiving chocolate. 😉

 

Lastly, it's always appropriate to let Southwest know when an employee has given you particularly great service.