Airport arrival can be stressful and chaotic, no matter how prepared you are. The curbside baggage handlers, also called skycaps or bellhops, provide a valuable service by meeting you outside the airport at your gate. They are airline employees of whatever line you may be flying with. Skycaps take your bags from you and ensure that your luggage is checked through to your final destination. Most people who use their services appreciate the work they do, but how much are you supposed to tip them? Here are a few travel tips on tipping skycaps for making your air travel experience more easy.

Service Provided

Maybe you got dropped off at the airport by a taxi driver. Maybe you relied on public transportation. Whatever your airport arrival method, you are probably tired of pushing, pulling, and dragging all of your luggage. Instead of hauling it into the airport, where you will wait in line at the ticketing desk to check your bags with a separate airport employee, you can leave it with an outdoor baggage handler. At curbside check-in, the concierge will ask you for your ticket or boarding pass as well as your identification. The handler will print and affix your baggage tickets to your luggage and hand you your claim ticket. Then you will be able to walk into the airport and get your bearings hands-free, except for whatever you are carrying on.

Number of Bags

You should tip the outside baggage handler according to the number of bags you have. ‌USA Today‌ and ‌Trip Advisor‌ both recommend that you tip between $1 or $2 per bag. Use your best judgment. If it's raining, snowing or over 90 degrees and you get good service, tip towards the $2 per bag side of the scale. You also might want to pay $2 if you’re in an international airport or an airport in a busy city like New York. Bear in mind that this rate might change in some countries; you may not have to tip the skycap at all in some places. Remember to bring dollar bills with you to the airport. If your baggage handler takes two or three bags from you and all you have is a five dollar bill, do not ask for change back.

Special Considerations

Tip more than the standard gratuity rate if you get extra help or receive particularly good service. If you have larger, awkward (think surfboards or instruments), or heavier bags, then tip more generously. Bear in mind that many baggage handlers are working a minimum wage job that can be pretty physically demanding. When the baggage handler provides you with directions or helps answer a question you have about your upcoming flight, you might want to tip a little extra.

Other Ways to Tip

Cash tips are always the best way to express appreciation. However, in addition to handing over a few dollars, you might want to do more for the handler who helped you with your luggage and made your airport arrival smoother than it normally is. Ask for the person's name and send a quick email to the airline or airport to report the excellent service you received. You can also make a phone call to a supervisor or make a point of saying an extra personal thank you.