Chauffeur Services: Should you Tip or Not?

One of the most frequently asked question I encounter when it comes to the chauffeur service—other than where to find good services—is whether or not you should tip. For over the years in the business, I just want to share some of the things I have learned from my experience. I have talked to some drivers doing these airport pick-ups, and I just want to share I have found out.

Tipping norms differ depending on where in the world you are

I guess everyone should have figured this out. One good example is Japan—they have different principles when it comes to tipping compared to US. I usually adapt to local tipping gestures when travelling. In Japan, tipping them from their great service is considered rude. However, I still sometimes would be overly generous by local standards depending on where I am. In transportation services in the UAE, I usually round up to the next “bill.” For example, if the fare is 34 AED, I would sometimes give them 50 AED. They have been working crazy hours and are away from their families, and after having heard so many of their experiences over the years. I’m sure they deserve it.

Airport “runs” are generally least profitable for drivers

Generally, airport pick-ups are not really profitable for most drivers since they should be able to get there once the flight arrives so that the passenger won’t wait any longer, even though it would take them an hour or so for someone to clear customs and immigration, help them with their belongings, etc. Yup, those waiting time could mean more profits for them.

Airlines negotiate great rates with limo companies

Well, this is how the business goes. Airlines offer limo companies a ton of volume for over a hundred pick-ups and drop offs a day even at an outstation. This is why there’s a lot of negotiation with the limo service providers.

How are drivers paid for airline chauffeur service?

In case you go for the complimentary chauffeur service offered by an airline, do you know how much the drivers are really getting paid for? Again, it depends on what country you are in, and for this I can only share how it works in the US.

Generally, the drivers for bigger companies which do these pick-ups are only getting paid what would be the equivalent of a 20% gratuity, so yes, they would genuinely rely on tips.