Miami Airport Restaurants Can Now Require Tipping

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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. […] Gary from View From The Wing posted a link that reported Miami International Airport has been been granted the ability to place an 18% gratuity on meal checks. I can’t say that I’m surprised – restaurant owners are trying all sorts of ways to help their tipped staff, even going as far as asking customers to help pay for servers’ health insurance, without losing even more of their bottom line. […]


  1. Gary, I have been charged automatic 18% tip at MIA before. There is an Asian restaurant in AA terminal… i forget the name but they have been charging automatic 18% gratuity since 2010 or 2011.

  2. @Rick

    Same here. If you read the article though, apparently the Aviation board somewhat recently – Stopped them from doing so. So the commissioners voted and overturned it.

  3. It’s pretty much the standard at all Miami restaurants. I have always assumed that this is due to the number of Latin American and European travelers who barely tip. My only gripe is when the server doesn’t remind you when bringing the check. I know I have accidentally added a tip forgetting that it was already there.

  4. I used to work in hospitality so I get tipping but the whole autotip thing is a scam. Also, how can they say they only make $5/hr? If that’s true then there are a ton of other jobs available in SOFL. But it obviously isn’t true because Florida minimum wage with tips is $5.44 and I don’t care how much you all want to blame cheap latins for lack of tipping but you’ve gotta really try as a waiter/bar tender to not be able to pull $10/hr in cash. Better guess to the $5 is that this is a puff piece to mitigate an IRS audit of folks that thinks people are underreporting.

  5. “We are an international airport,” he said. “A lot of people out there aren’t used to tipping.”

    So how about call it a service charge, which the rest of the world IS used to?

    Oh, because 18% is obscene…and no one in their right mind would eat at a restaurant in any other country with an 18% service charge.

    Honestly, this is increasingly insane. There is not a place in the world where one is expected to pay a commission of up to 25% on food ordered at a restaurant, on top of the sales tax.

    In New York, for example, the tip means that – after adding sales tax – there’s 25%-35% “fees” added onto the price of a main meal.

    In a recent restaurant review, the critic noted that the bill for four people came to $575. When tax and a 20% tip are added, that’s $740.

    In New York, a $25 pasta is in fact $32. A $45 steak is actually $58.

    There is simply no relationship between the prices printed on the menu and the actual price paid. We get upset about mandatory resort fees and fuel surcharges; why isn’t there a similar outrage about mandatory tipping? (And for those who say that tipping is discretionary, it’s not – just try walking out of a restaurant in New York without leaving AT LEAST 18%).

  6. It’s not a required tip in the literal sense. It’s an opt out tip rather than the traditional opt in. And…yes, it should be called a service charge to make it required and to properly disclose.

  7. How about we pay our waitstaff the same minimum wage everybody else makes and make tipping voluntary again.

  8. A required tip is not a tip – it is an increase in the price. If the county wants to take care of it’s families, it should require a fair wage, not a tip. However, it is not “required tipping” as said in Leff’s headline. It is possible to opt out.

  9. Do NOT blame he travelers. When American’s go to Europe and Asia they do not tip because the price is all inclusive. In the USA a tip is to give a gratuity to , where a Gratuity is something given voluntarily or beyond obligation usually for some service. Key word is VOLUNTARILY, it is not mandatory. Why do I as a consumer need to pay 18% for a $4 soda ? How much service do I really get?

    If the Wait staff feels they are underpaid then raise the prices, get paid a fair wage and REMOVE THE TIP line from the check! I really have not seen wait staff say “my job is the best being paid $5 and that is why I choose to work here” No they are there because they make a good $$ and a lot of it they do not pay taxes on

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