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Do you tip helicopter tour pilot

Passengers are very welcome to tip a helicopter pilot wherever you may fly a helicopter tour in the world, though timing is everything.

If the helicopter tour pilot offered a friendly, fun time; nothing can stop you from tipping the pilot. Time to tip is at the end of the tour; wait until engines off, headphones are removed, and passengers are proceeding to descend. Its then up to you to tip, ideally with a 5, 10 or 20 dollar bill only, no loose coins.

Never will a tip be rejected, and where they might kindly do so, its only because the helicopter tour operator have a no tip policy.

Rejection could also be due to the pilot pre-occupied on the radio, or communication with hand gestures to the ground crew.

So if you do wish to tip, wait until you are back safe on the landing pad with the engine off and headset removed.

Know your environment, if its a busy touristy designation; there might not be a time to tip, as passengers could be quickly taking off the helicopter.

If its a quieter, less busy time, then do tip the helicopter tour pilot at your discretion.

Only hand over cash to the pilot in his or her hand; do not slot or place cash on the helicopter control console, for safety reasons.

Tipping pilot is always welcome

Wherever you are taking a helicopter tour in the world, know that its always welcomed if you wish to tip the pilot.

It won't be unusual if for certain helicopter tour operators a tip was rejected; as for legal or tax reasons, its better to not accept tips.

If you want to hand over a tip to the pilot who flow your tour - if he or she is worthy of a tip - then the worst that could happen is them saying no.

So be sure to tip the helicopter tour pilot if you are so generous to do so, but know its always at the passengers discretion.

People who intend to tip regardless of policy, may want to ask a member of staff when you arrive at the heliport, if it would be OK to tip.

Tipping helicopter tour pilot's is not as straight forward as saying, tipping a taxi driver; as the pilot need to remain focus on the task in hand.

So with that in mind, when is an appropriate time to tip the helicopter pilot?

Appropriate time to tip pilot

As I've mentioned, unlike tipping the cab or pizza delivery person; tipping a helicopter pilot should be done with caution.

What I mean is, in a helicopter tour environment, the pilot is talking face-to-face or communication over the radio in the helicopter.

All before lift-off so the pilot needs to remain focus; all while as they are friendly and courteous to his or her passengers - namely you and your group.

Pilot's that don't often or never have been offered a tip by a fellow passenger may be come frazzled, well also flattered; but a little unfocused due to your generosity.

What that means is, the pilot will be less focused on his or her task in hand, especially when they have 5 bucks in cash, and don't know where to secure it.

Pilots are professionals, so are not completely oblivious to interaction with passengers, so wait until things are quite after the flight.

Meaning, engines are off where all passengers have descended the helicopter... so when do you had over cash exactly?

Wait until end of helicopter tour

Obviously, you don't want to tip a helicopter tour pilot before you ride has begun, as it will seem a little unusual.

While it would be easy for all concerned if you could, you need to wait until the helicopter tour has ended - where you are back at your original departure location.

So its always important to wait until the helicopter tour has finished, just as a taxi would dropped you off at home.

Never tip a rude or pilot that is undeserving of a tip, so only focus on those that offer a personal, yet friendly experience.

When you should tip would be at the point of when the helicopter has landed with engines offer; but not before the pilot has removed the headphones.

That way you'll know there's no more talking to ground or air traffic control, so focus can be on him or her.

Now is the time to hand over cash - notes only - well the pilot is on the seat still. That is if you're a front seat passenger.

If you're riding in the back, it would be appropriate to follow the info I have outlined, but pass the bill through any open gap into the front seat section.

When NOT to tip

Having said that, its imperative you do not attempt to hand over cash when the pilot is busy with staff on the ground, or communication with traffic on the radio.

Once you're back from your tour, a time to tip the helicopter tour pilot will be before you descend from the chopper.

Do not disrupt the pilot if they're on the radio as you'll be ignored, as communication takes priority for safety reasons.

So never hand over cash when the pilot is still wearing the headphones. Once they are removed, you should be fine to proceed handing over the tip.

You will also need to be aware the pilot is not communicating with ground staff using hand gestures - as it means the normal procedure hasn't come to a stop.

When you should tip a pilot, if you wish too, is if the helicopter operator is small, not so busy with not may passengers around or taking a tour.

If its a big tour operators, such as those that operate in the Grand Canyon or depart out of the busy New York Pier 6, it might not be a good idea to tip at all.

How much too tip

Its completely up to you how much you wish to tip the helicopter pilot, but in doing so never ever hand over loose change or coins.

Only hand the pilot a single note as to avoid trouble; so a 5, 10 or 20 dollar bill should be how much you tip - that is if you're flying in the USA - as similar rules apply for other countries.

Really you'd want to tip $10.00 or $20.00 dollars for a helicopter tour that was long, where a short helicopter ride would see $5.00 or $10.00 an appropriate amount.

Always know in advanced - even before you arrive at the helipad - how much you intend to tip, as its unlikely you won't be able to bring a wallet or purse on board.

So for that reason you will want to keep the 5, 10 or 20 dollar bill loose in a zip pocket.

Don't feel you have to tip the amount mentioned; if you wish to tip more then do so, but anything less will require a cash - outside the US anyway.

If you want to tip the pilot with a dollar note, then do so, as it would be a little awkward for you and the pilot to accept a number of dollar notes - in terms of too many notes


Know that wherever you are in the world, pilots will accept a tip. Helicopter pilots are not rich per-se, so tipping has real, personal value to the pilots.

If you are taking a helicopter tour in a nice, quiet, not so busy terminal or heliport, then tipping would be accepted after the tour is finished.

If you're taking a helicopter tour at a busy tourist destination, namely the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas or out of Lower Manhattan, then a time to tip the pilot might not happen as passengers are frequently ushered in and out of the helicopter.

A good time to tip the pilot would be when the helicopter has landed back at base; then wait until engines are off, headphones are removed, and the pilot is talking to you and fellow passengers.

Do not attempt to hand over a tip on the heliport, during helicopter start up procedure, in-flight, or when the pilot is communication over the radio.

Instead, you will want to wait until things are quite and calm, then hand over a 5, 10 or 20 dollar bill as an appropriate amount

Never be a person who tips with loose change. It might be appropriate for a taxi driver, but not so a helicopter pilot.

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