In America: $1 to $2 per bag, depending on how long they helped you. Consider $1 per bag as the minimum tip, like you’d do 10% or 15% at a restaurant.

My friend recently had a strange experience at an airport in Chicago, which I’ll paste below from Facebook.

Helpful references:

  • The guys who work at the express bag checks outside of the airport check-in are called Skyhops.
  • Skyhops typically get paid like waiters; assume $2-$4 per hour. They make money on the services they provide (checking your bag).
  • The benefits of using skyhops: Faster check-in, and sometimes I’ve avoided excess baggage fees for overweight items with a well-timed tip. ($5 or $10)

Here’s my friend’s anecdote of what happened when she tried to check her bag and didn’t know that she was supposed to give a tip.

I checked my bags outside at the express bag check for O’Hare Airport. After everything’s settled the attendant hands me my ticket. Attendant looks like a less severe version of John Waters.

Attendant: we work like a valet service so we’ll take care of your bag…

Hands me my ticket and does not move, holds my gaze.

Me: Ok so you’re going to check it for me?

Pause
He stares blankly at me

Attendant: We’ll take care of your bag ma’m (he still does not move and continues to stare blankly at me. The bag sits. I go to leave and he moves in step with me, giving me the impression there’s something else, still holding my gaze)

Me: Ok so I don’t have to take it in, drop it off? Or? What are you saying?

Attendant: We’re a valet service for your bag ma’m (begins to turn his back slowly to me towards my bag)

Me: Ok so you got it?

He stares blankly at me
Pause

Attendant: We’ll take care of you.

Me: Ok you are sending this to Los Angeles right?

Attendant: why? Are you going somewhere else today?

Me: No I’m saying I don’t have to take this inside, check it, I mean you’ve got it, you’ll take it to my plane!?

He stares blankly at me
Pause

Attendant: Yes ma’m. We’ve got your bag.

I read her account and thought it was a hilarious example of the unspoken tip culture that exists in America. I hope others might find this helpful so you know to tip this American worker class.

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