Whether to tip or not to tip when you’re in an airline lounge is a question that must have crossed your mind at some point. In a country like the United States, where tipping everyone in sight is a fact of life, one does wonder where the line is drawn.

Other places such as much of Europe, Australia, Japan to name but a few, just don’t have a tipping culture, so the question doesn’t come up. These people do travel though and nothing is worse than not knowing the form.

To Tip Or Not To Tip

In the United States, it is customary to tip the bartender US$1 per drink. My American friends strongly advised me (“YOU HAVE TO TIP THE BARTENDER A DOLLAR PER DRINK!”) what to do. No problem, when in Rome (you don’t have to tip!) and all that.

However, what happens when you have a drinks voucher? Outside the USA, airline lounges often feature pour your own alcohol, so when we go to the USA, we get one or two vouchers so we can still have free drinks despite there being a paid bar.

Do you go ahead and tip, even when you’re using a voucher? I have done it (in Charlotte) and not done it (in Denver) and the reaction was the same – there was no real reaction. The person tipped thanked me, the person who was not tipped was just as pleasant as before.

What about those lounges with table service? Obviously the food is all free in the lounge, but would you still leave something for your server? I have personally never done that. I mean, 20% of zero is zero, right?

Overall Thoughts

I am sure readers from the United States will be able to provide examples of the form on this. Personally, I am not sure whether I am offending people in lounges left, right and centre, or if I am pretty much following the form.

Clearly one doesn’t tip on board a flight, so I would expect that to extend to the ground experience. Having a think, I can’t honestly remember seeing people hand over cash in airport lounges, but I don’t really pay close attention to what everyone else is doing when I’m relaxing.

I’m looking forward to hearing what you think I should do. Thank you for reading and please leave any comments and questions below. Hopefully we can get to the bottom of this!

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