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9 Answers

Do you tip your CFI?

Asked by: 8156 views ,
Flight Instructor

I have been interested in flying for some time now, and recently I received a gift card good towards a 'Discovery Flight' at one of our local flight training facilities.  My question is:  Is it customary to tip the flight instructor for the Discovery Flight?  If I decide to pursue getting my private license, should I tip my CFI?



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9 Answers

  1. Paul Tocknell on Feb 03, 2011

    As a flight instructor, I very rarely received tips but I didn’t want them either. I do not consider flight instructing a “tipping” industry.  Flight instructing is a professional career choice for some and just as you wouldn’t tip your doctor or lawyer, I don’t think you should tip your instructor.  Most flight instructors receive a good fair hourly wage and I don’t think it needs to be padded by a tip like the restaurant service industry.  If, at the end of training, you want to buy a small gift card for your instructor as a token of appreciation, I think that would be ok, but I wouldn’t tip at the end of your discovery flight.   

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  2. Micah on Feb 03, 2011

    I fully agree with Paul’s comments above. I’ve given gifts and received gifts–even gave a gift to a student who is a close friend upon him getting his private pilot certificate–but I have never given a “tip” nor expected such. I expect myself or any other instructor to act in a professional manner and I expect any student to do the same and what I charge and how/when I expect to be paid are explicitly discussed beforehand. If you fly with an organized flight school (which itself regulates the pricing) and feel like you want to “give your instructor a little extra” then think about a gift after you’ve completed your end of the deal (whatever goal you set out to accomplish) or, even better, buy some additional ground school time.

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  3. Gary Moore on Feb 03, 2011

    Paul is dead on.  Don’t tip your instructor – but they (we) all appreciate a small token of thanks when you’ve completed your training.  Things you SHOULD do for your instructor is gladly and willingly pay them for their time – if you book their schedule for two hours – pay them for two hours.  And if you really want to make your CFI smile – when that early morning flight gets scrubbed due to weather – offer to buy them breakfast – trust me – you will get your money’s worth in the ad hoc ground school conversation πŸ™‚

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  4. Greg on Feb 03, 2011

    Thanks all for the clarification and prompt responses!

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  5. James MacGregor CFI on Feb 03, 2011

    I’ve received a tip twice, both on flight reviews. I think it was due to the flight review being a rare (not full time type) of training and the pilot thinking they might not fly with be again until the next BFR.

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  6. skyboyCFI on Feb 04, 2011

    Define Tips. It’s an acronym for “To Insure Proper Service”. If you have an instructor that requires insurance of proper service, you shouldnt get in a plane with them. :-O


    Buy their lunch on a cross-country flight. But save your tips for the waitress that works her butt off for you and still smiles.

    In a flight review or examine situation, it’s improper to accept a tip or even a lunch. Because it opens up concern for favoritism in the review. I once offered to buy one of my examiners

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  7. skyboyCFI on Feb 04, 2011

    (oops, pushed the publish button by mistake)

    ….. examiners lunch while we waited on weather to clear, but he refused stating he could not accept my offer, that it would be improper for him to do so. I couldn’t bribe him but I still passed πŸ˜‰

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  8. James MacGregor CFI on Feb 04, 2011

    I would have not signed him off just as easily. Some people feel better tipping, especially older generations. I really don’t make much of a deal over it, as long as your student knows it’s not expected nor required, after that ts their choice.

    I brought donughts and coffie to a fair share of checkrides, never had a DPE turn it down lol

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  9. Kate Knoblauch on Feb 04, 2011

    I have bought my CFI lunch after a long ground school lesson when I just wasn’t really getting it.  I’ve definetly put him through the paces during the flight training. I stopped counting after 400 landings just to solo! He risked his life a couple times with me in the left seat, the least I could do was buy him lunch.  I’d like to think we’re friends outside of the airplane as well though.

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