Consumer Reports: Rules for tipping

Tipping is expected at places like restaurants and nail salons, but what about on a flight?

If you thought airplanes were a tip-free zone, you might want to grab some singles before boarding. Consumer Reports say budget carrier Frontier Airlines is now giving passengers the option to tip flight attendants for serving refreshments.

Have we finally reached a tipping point? Consumer Reports takes a closer look, with tips on tipping.

From the teenager who made your sandwich at the deli to your local coffee shop barista, more and more service providers might expect something a little extra, but does that mean you must pay up?

In a recent Consumer Reports survey of more than 1,000 American adults, 27 percent said there are more situations today where they're expected to tip than there were just two years ago.

"Consumers are becoming increasingly resentful about the idea that they have to tip people just for doing their jobs," said Consumer Reports Money Editor Margot Gilman. "Like really? I have to tip a smoothie maker? Or what about the barista at the coffee shop who swivels a little point of sale iPad in your direction with a pre-calculated tip?"
As for how much to tip, Consumer Reports has some guidelines.

"A simple rule of thumb is to tip 15 to 20 percent of the pretax restaurant tab," Gilman said. "Don't tip less than 15 percent. If the server was rude or offensive, speak to the manager but don't stiff the server."

Another finding from Consumer Reports' survey on tipping: 46 percent of Americans say they favor a system that would do away with tipping altogether and instead charge higher prices, a remedy promoted by restaurateur Danny Meyer, the founder of Shake Shack.

If you're looking for some tools to help, apps such as Tab, Settle Up, and Plates let you split tabs or keep track of who owes what.

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