The law requires that airports make accommodations for people with disabilities.
Most airlines provide wheelchair attendants/assistants for disabled passengers. Although the rules and regulations are different in some countries, most major airlines provide this service at no extra cost.
The job of a wheelchair attendant varies but the primary responsibilities are similar in all locations. When you arrive at the airport as a wheelchair user, the attendant will greet you and ask you about your needs.
They may also provide assistance with the security screening process and deplaning, depending on the type of service you request.
If you have a special request, the wheelchair assistant will explain it to the flight attendants.
While it’s not necessary to tip a wheelchair attendant at the airport, it’s good to leave a tip, especially if the attendant is helpful. It is like giving a tip to a waiter or a hotel housekeeper. If the attendant has been helping you with your luggage, consider giving a small tip.
Table of Contents
- Who is a Wheelchair Assistant?
- Roles of a Wheelchair Assistant
- How Much Should You Tip a Wheelchair Assistant?
- How to Find a Wheelchair Assistant
- How Does a Wheelchair User Fly?
Who is a Wheelchair Assistant?
A wheelchair assistant is almost universally an employee of an airport’s contractors. They are rarely paid above minimum wage and, in most cases, rely on tips to survive.
Your wheelchair attendant will take you to security, baggage claim, and the restroom when you get to the airport. This person will also assist with ground transportation. In addition to being an airport wheelchair attendant, they follow company policies and procedures and ensure your safety in the airport.
Roles of a Wheelchair Assistant
The job requires a lot of patience, punctuality, and availability.
The airport will usually have an assistant on hand for wheelchair users. They are a valuable resource for those with disabilities and will do anything possible to make them as comfortable as possible.
In addition to providing a helpful service, they can also provide a companion for you to travel with. The best way to find a wheelchair assistant at the airport is to call and ask for one.
If you are traveling in a wheelchair, it’s important to let the airport know in advance. Most airports have a wheelchair attendant available to fit your needs. You can contact the airline directly to find out more about this service.
You can even contact the airline’s special assistance department to see what options are available. Ensure that your wheelchair assistant understands your language and can communicate comfortably with you. Once you’ve notified the airline about the need, they will be at the airport on time.
How Much Should You Tip a Wheelchair Assistant?
Although tipping the airport wheelchair attendant isn’t traditional in the U.S., it’s common in Europe to leave a token at the airport to say “thank you.” In the US, wheelchair attendants generally receive minimum wage or less.
There are many things to consider when tipping a wheelchair assistant at the airport. If you’re unsure how much to give, here are some suggestions.
The amount to tip a wheelchair attendant depends on how much assistance they provide. A typical tip ranges from $3 to $5, depending on the time spent and the distance traveled.
Factor in the time you’ve spent waiting for your plane to depart. You can give a buck or two to a $10 tip for a particularly helpful wheelchair assistant. Don’t be shy about leaving extra money, as you never know who’s looking out for you.
As such, you should not tip them more than they’re paid. The usual tip is $5 to $10 per assistant. However, if you’re at a high-profile airport, consider leaving a few dollars extra.
Your gesture should be based on how far you are from your gate, which will determine the amount of money you should leave with them. A $5 bill is usually more than enough, so don’t be afraid to give a $5 tip.
Sometimes, the tip can be a percentage of the overall amount you spend on the service. Some people like to leave a 10% tip for each person who helps them in the airport. So, the actual amount to tip all buzzes down to you.
How to Find a Wheelchair Assistant
Requesting a wheelchair assistant at the airport is easy and quick.
The first step is to notify the airline that you need an assistant at least 48 hours in advance. If you can’t do this, ask the check-in counter to let the airline know you need one. In addition, you can always call friends and family to help out in the search for a wheelchair assistant if the situation becomes difficult.
You can also request one from the airline’s Complaint Resolution Official (CRO) who is also your disability liaison. You can contact them via telephone or in person.
Many airlines are now offering wheelchair attendants to help people with disabilities get to their flights. The assistants will assist you with your luggage and push your manual wheelchair. Consider using a wheelchair assistant at the airport even if you are using a motorized wheelchair.
It’s not always possible to get help from flight attendants if you’re traveling in a wheelchair. It’s best to call your airline 48 hours before the flight and request a wheelchair assistant. They’ll help you navigate the airport and assist you with your luggage.
There are several advantages to hiring a wheelchair assistant at the airport. The assistance is often free but you can leave a tip. The service is a great help to disabled people. It will help them navigate the airport and prepare for their flight. And if you can’t get through security, the wheelchair attendant will help you through.
How Does a Wheelchair User Fly?
It is not impossible for a wheelchair user to use an airplane just like everybody else. As long as your medical reports show that you are safe to use an airplane, you are good to go.
The only thing is that you will need assistance onboarding and alighting from the airplane; this is where a wheelchair assistant fits in. They will make your flying experience hassle-free and worth remembering.