Do you tip your CFI?

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by RogerThat, Jul 2, 2022.

  1. RogerThat

    RogerThat Pre-Flight

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    Hello all,
    I am 10 hours in and I really love my CFI. She gets me but I love how she teaches and answers all my questions that are all over the place. Just a good fit.
    (I don't know any better, she has been my one and only CFI although Id like to take some lessons here and there with others to get different pointers and styles)

    My question is;
    Do you tip your CFI? What is customary and when?

    I was thinking of showing my appreciation around the 10 hr mark and any other hurdle moving forward but don't know what the etiquette is.
    I don't want to give too much or too little but do want to show my appreciation.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated.
     
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  2. Pugs

    Pugs Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    No.
     
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  3. Sachin

    Sachin Filing Flight Plan

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    The thought never even crossed my mind.

    A small gift or token (non-monetary) to show your appreciation might be Ok.
     
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  4. Llewtrah381

    Llewtrah381 Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    Whaaaat….?
     
  5. TommyG

    TommyG Pattern Altitude

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    I have got tips, gifts, etc usually after the checkride, a couple after solo sign off. But I don’t think a 10 hour mark would be worth it. And you said she, so make sure it’s not a crush tip.
     
  6. FancyG

    FancyG Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Tipped mine same as checkride fee for passing ppl - $600. A great instructor deserves it.
     
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  7. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Bro do you even lift
    you're paying her, right? that's how it works...you pay, she teaches. that being said, when I passed my checkride I did give my CFI some specialty coffees and a travel coffee mug, cause he was a big coffee drinker and that's how I roll. I wouldn't have felt bad not doing that.
     
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  8. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

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    No
     
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  9. Jim K

    Jim K En-Route

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    I've never tipped my cfi's overtly, but I do occasionally "round up" 10 or 20 bucks if I felt like I learned a lot in that lesson. I also will buy lunch/ dinner if we're together over mealtime.

    I've also flown with cfi's who expect to be paid down to the tenth from the second they step out of their car. They get exactly that and not a penny more.
     
  10. DaleB

    DaleB Final Approach

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    Nope.
     
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  11. kaiser

    kaiser Cleared for Takeoff

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    After my instrument and my commercial, I gave each of those CFIs some rare booze as a gift. That’s about it.
     
  12. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    No, but it's customary to give your CFI a small token of appreciation after you pass your checkride. A Breitling Navitimer is traditional, but if you were an especially challenging student an Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch might be more appropriate.
     
  13. Daleandee

    Daleandee En-Route

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    :yeahthat:

    I've rounded up the fee a few dollars and would buy lunch sometimes. I don't make it a habit but I've had a few instructors that were also long time friends.
     
  14. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    :yeahthat:

    I pick up lunch/dinner and that's about the extent of it.
     
  15. catmandu

    catmandu Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    So, I am a money grubbing CFI, but only occasionally. So that particular metric does not really apply. But, I have had times in my life where I paid or expected to pay a reasonable fee to a professional. When I have felt they have gone above and beyond, I have given an overly generous gift certificate (usually not even close to any sort of tipping 'percentage' given the fees involved) to a nice local establishment (not a chain) with the note "Go enjoy some quality time with someone you care about. Thank you!" They have all been incredibly appreciative (at least outwardly, maybe they just sold the certificate on eBay, who knows).
     
  16. DFH65

    DFH65 En-Route

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    He should have tipped me after all I made him a better instructor. :cool:
     
  17. RogerThat

    RogerThat Pre-Flight

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    Haaaa
    Absolutely not. Never crossed my mind.
    I am sure there is a big age gap as well, was never interested to find out.
    So, no, that is not a driving point for my question.
     
  18. RogerThat

    RogerThat Pre-Flight

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    Good point. She is earning her hours while she gets paid.
     
  19. RogerThat

    RogerThat Pre-Flight

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    OK after reading these few comments I am ok.
    I wanted to make sure there wasn't some sort of etiquette with Student/CFI working relationship like most/many service based sectors.

    Very good points made here, thanks!
     
  20. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I have so much money that I routinely negotiate and agree on a rate and then pay more on top of that just because I have so much.
    Seriously though, I do not understand this tipping concept one bit.

    Ironically, last flight I took with an instructor I tipped. It was a demo flight at the factory and they didn’t charge me for the flight. Figured it was the least I could do.
     
  21. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    Pilots consider themselves to be professionals. Would you tip a doctor, lawyer, or engineer who did a job for you? Would you tip an airline pilot?

    CFIs teach. Would you tip your chemistry professor?
     
  22. Chrisgoesflying

    Chrisgoesflying Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Never even crossed my mind to tip. I think my instructor, at least my last one who I’ve worked with for the longest time out of all CFIs would probably even think it is weird, if not even inappropriate if I tipped him. We spent so much time shoulder on shoulder in a Cessna 150, we talked family, business and lots of aviation and kind of became buddies. Tipping would make that whole thing super weird.
     
  23. IK04

    IK04 En-Route PoA Supporter

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    The best thing you can do for your instructor is study, practice and become proficient in everything taught.

    My favorite students were sponges and showed up prepare for every lesson...
     
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  24. Racerx

    Racerx Pattern Altitude

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    I usually round up and gave honey as I have roughly 50 gallons of it at the moment with more on the way. And also gave some elk sausage and elk steaks as I had over 300lbs of just sausage alone

    If you can do it in a non creepy way, compliment her on doing a good job and let her know what you think she's doing well. Sometimes that means more than an extra 5 bucks
     
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  25. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    If I truly loved her, I may give her a tip. Definitely don’t give her the shaft.
     
  26. Racerx

    Racerx Pattern Altitude

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    If they successfully brought it down in the Hudson when death was a near certainty... he's getting more than a head nod next time I pass him
     
  27. RogerThat

    RogerThat Pre-Flight

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    Good point.

    I am a private wealth advisor. I don't get "tips" but I do occasionally get sent gifts of appreciation. Much like lawyers and maybe doctors do.
    cant wait to be your CFI!
     
  28. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    I always put my hat out with a starter dollar.
     
  29. RogerThat

    RogerThat Pre-Flight

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    That I do. I often tel her I appreciate her teaching style. She brought my son with us for a lesson and that really meant a lot. it was a great father son experience for me.
     
  30. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    In all seriousness… a CFI is a pro pilot, but not quite the same as an airline pilot.
     
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  31. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    I've known a few who were both, though.

    And I know a couple of CFIs and one DPE who are engineers. Seems silly to tip someone who's earning over 200k.
     
  32. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    Well sure, I agree.. but that’s not the norm.
     
  33. saddletramp

    saddletramp Line Up and Wait

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    I must be a lucky CFI. I get tips all the time. Because I commute 60 miles to one of my teaching airports a student recently gave me $200.00 in gas cards. She said it was for being so patient with her. I get cash tips at least monthly. I've also been given sweatshirts, t-shirts, & hats. Mostly aviation themed. I even received drink glasses with my 182's N# etched in them for Christmas last year.

    I must be doing something right.
     
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  34. saddletramp

    saddletramp Line Up and Wait

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    You are right CFI's are not on the same level as airline pilots. I still treat airline pilots with respect though.
     
  35. TommyG

    TommyG Pattern Altitude

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    CFI has to teach flying, airline pilot learns how to program autopilot.
     
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  36. Garavar

    Garavar Pre-Flight

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    I bought my CFI a breakfast sandwich from dunkin before mostly every flight since I knew he wouldn't eat all day because he had back to back flights. And on New Years I gave him $100 "bonus"

    Guess based on the above I am strange.
     
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  37. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

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    A good CFI will give you the foundation you need for everything else. A bad CFI - another CFI will likely have to correct things later on.
     
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  38. GaryM

    GaryM Pattern Altitude

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    When I passed my checkride, gave my CFI money for a nice dinner out with his girlfriend.
     
  39. Pugs

    Pugs Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    Upon reflection, After he did my PPL and Instrument I did give my CFI a framed print of the Australian Navy A-4 he flew while on an exchange tour with the Aussies (he was a Marine A-4 / AV-8 Aviator). I didn't consider it a tip in any way, just thanks for putting up with me, instilling good habits and getting me through the check rides. I suppose some would consider it a gift I just thought it was a nice gift for someone I consider a friend.
     
  40. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    This is the first time I've ever heard of tipping CFIs. At the places I rent from, the instructors get paid directly by the students, and they set their own rates (which are not cheap).
     
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