One thing I always find interesting is the dilemma people go through at airport club lounge bars when they get a free drink. Do you tip for the free drink or act like you already paid for the service?
On a recent trip to a Delta SkyClub, I was in line behind a guy who had the SkyClub bartender work for a few routine drinks. He asked for the most custom Bloody Mary I’ve ever seen. First it was the right amount of hot sauce, then it was not enough Worcester sauce, the. He complained about the garnishes. Most interesting of all, he walked away from the bar with two custom complimentary Bloody Mary drinks and left only by saying “thanks!”
Why I Always Tip The Bartender
Even though I’ve already paid for the access to the SkyClub or other lounges I visit through other means, I always tip $1-2 per drink depending on the location and drink.
One time I was in MJ’s favorite SkyClub lounge and after ordering a few luxury bar menu glasses of wine, the bartender Hannah, turned me on to the free domestic Cab. Then she really earned her tip by introducing me to the Hannah special. The Hannah special is probably one of the best ways to make a drink out of Delta’s complimentary Vodka.
How To Make The The Hanna Special
She made a suggestion which illustrates that it pays to get to know your Sky Club bartender. For example, they know how to work with what they got on the complimentary bar menu. Take for example, the old Gordons Vodka well drink and compare it to their Ciroc Vodka. The Ciroc drink is $8 while the Hanna Special (with Gordon’s) is free + plus tip.
– Fill glass with ice
– Add Gordons Vodka
– Add Cranberry Juice
– Add Sprite (For sweet) or Club Soda (For not sweet)
– Top with lime and enjoy
The bartender who was just stuffed by the guy in front of me didn’t know what I meant by the Hannah special, but after asking she was more than happy to help make an extra special drink. So in my opinion it was well worth a few bucks for her service with a smile and a good drink.
It can pay dividends to tip your airport club lounge bartender. Plus, with a nice drink can make your flight that much more enjoyable.
Case in point, the Hannah special was introduced to me from one of the friendliest Delta SkyClub bartenders, Hannah in DC. Note: the second most friendly SkyClub bartender is in the Atlanta B10 SkyClub – she’s not working with much either as that is what I consider the worst SkyClub in the system. And she’s followed by a close third bartender in Atlanta’s One Flew South restaurant.
What’s your approach to tipping in club lounges?
1) I already paid for the service and the drink. Bah Humbug
2) I always tip. The bartenders work hard and I like service with a smile.