"The average tip is $50 - $200 per pilot"
Ever wonder if it is appropriate or a common practice to tip you pilots when traveling on a private jet?
Pilots put a lot of effort in making your charter flight exceptional. Most people think that a charter pilots only job is to fly the plane, but that is not the case. A typical day involves arriving at airport an hour or two before departure. Often a stop is made at a liquor store or grocery store to pick up special items that the passengers requested. Sometimes these items are catered, but it is cheaper for the company to have the pilots do the shopping.
One pilot prepares the cockpit while the other pilot gets the cabin ready. You probably don’t realize how much work the pilots put into cabin preparation.
Pilots get the coffee, newspapers, ice and catering on board. Then they organize the catering to be presentable for the passengers. A complete check of all the stock is made, making sure that expiration dates are not passed and nothing is out of place. The pilots check the cabin for cleanliness and wipe any fingerprints that were missed from the prior cleaning. The potable water tanks are topped off and lav is checked for fresh blue juice that is free of any odor. The “pilot duties” in the cabin take longer that preparing the aircraft for flight.
After the airplane is prepared, one pilot will go inside and wait for the passengers at the door.
Often the line personnel will assist the pilots in loading the bags. One pilot will get in the baggage compartment while the line personnel, or the other pilot, hands them the bags. Corporate pilots are master packers. Have you ever saw the size of the baggage compartment on a private jet? The pilots know that shipping baggage is not a good option and they will try everything possible to make sure the baggage fits in the airplane.
Federal regulations say that pilots can only leave their seats for the operation of the aircraft or for physiological needs. They are not required (or allowed by the regulations) to get up and act as a flight attendant. But most pilots know that your experience on a private jet is going to be better if they offer you a drink or heat up your food. Pilots typically enjoy talking to the passengers but also respect their privacy.
On arrival the pilots unload the bags from the jet and check the cabin for items that might have been left behind. Pilots will typically wait with the passengers until their transportation has arrived. This should not be misinterpret as the pilot waiting for a tip; pilots never expect to be tipped, but appreciate it when offered.
The pilots are also the aircraft cleaners. The crew will spend anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours cleaning the cabin for the next flight. This includes throwing away garbage, doing dishes, wiping down the interior, changing pillow cases, restocking, vacuuming and CLEANING THE LAV!! Yes, the pilot cleans the toilet.
So Pilots are well paid for this extra work?
A charter or fractional pilot can expect to make around $40,000 - $60,000 per year as a first officer. The captain of a private jet will make around $60,000 - $110,000. These are average numbers for a wide variety of business jets.
Is tipping a pilot offensive or Insulting?
No, tipping a pilot is not insulting. Pilots love getting tips. Who wouldn't? A tip is never expected by the pilots, but is always appreciated. It is a nice gesture to show you appreciated the extra effort they put into making your private jet flight as enjoyable as possible.
Should You Tip a Pilot? How much do you tip a Pilot?
An average tip is $50 - $200 per pilot.
If the cabin got a little messy, you had a lot of bags, or noticed that the pilots had gone the extra mile to make your trip perfect, it would be a nice gesture to give a tip.