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Should You Tip Your Skydiving Instructor?

Skydiving Tips

Wisconsin Skydiving Center Posted by: Wisconsin Skydiving Center 12 months ago

Deciding to take the leap and go skydiving brings up a lot of questions. Usually safety, training, and procedures are at the top of the list, but “do you tip your skydiving instructor?” is another big one. 

You have enough to worry about with all that jumping-out-of-an-airplane stuff. Do you really need to add “is it customary to tip skydiving instructors” to your long list of questions? The short answer is that if your skydiving experience meets or exceeds your expectations, it’s always nice to show your instructor some love. 

But a lot can factor into the decision to tip and the amount that’s appropriate. We all know that no one likes talking about money, so we’ll take some of the stress out of the process and break it down for you here.

What Goes into Being a Tandem Skydiving Instructor?

Being a tandem instructor is no walk in the park. Sure, we love our jobs and any time spent in the sky is a good time, but it’s certainly not a job without some work involved. 

Even just becoming a tandem instructor requires a hearty investment of time, money, and commitment. The United States Parachute Association (USPA) requires tandem instructors to:

  • Have a minimum of 500 jumps
  • Hold a USPA D license
  • Hold a current skydiving coach title
  • Have at least 3 years of experience in the sport
  • Pass a tandem certification course
  • Possess a current FAA Class III Flight Medical Certificate 

And that’s just to start out! Once an instructor becomes certified, they are required to maintain their instructor rating by completing a certain number of jumps every year, consistently passing the FAA Class III medical exam, and teaching a certain number of skydiving classes on an annual basis to stay current. 

On a daily basis, tandem instructors are responsible for the safety, learning, stoke, and customer service experience of every single person they take skydiving. Each and every jump has to be the most incredible experience of a lifetime for their student.

Talk about earning their pay!

Tip Amounts for Skydiving Instructors

So how much do you tip a tandem skydiver? The appropriate gratuity depends on multiple factors, but there is an average that you can use to guide you. 

A typical tip for a skydiving instructor is between $10 and $20. Of course, there’s no minimum or maximum; any amount is appreciated. If you feel your instructor went above and beyond, you can give them as much as you feel their service was worth to you – there’s no such thing as too much appreciation! 

And if you sprung for the video, don’t forget to tip your videographer, too! They are working hard to make sure you look like a star!

Other Ways to Thank Your Skydiving Instructor

Money isn’t the only way to show your appreciation for your tandem instructor. There are plenty of other ways to let them know you enjoyed your time with them, and just saying it is a great start. 

Tandem instructors do their job because they love shepherding people through the wide-open sky. Even though they’ve done it hundreds (or thousands) of times, getting to experience someone’s first jump with them is almost like doing their own first all over again. Letting your instructor know how amazing your jump was will validate all of the reasons they do their job in the first place. 

This gives a whole new meaning to the question, “Should you open your mouth when skydiving?” Yes! To tell your instructor how much you love it!

You can also leave a comment card with the dropzone so that management knows how great your instructor was. Everyone loves a little bit of recognition for a job well done!

What Not to Do When Skydiving

Sometimes, just being a good student is the best way to thank your instructor. That said … let’s talk about what not to do when skydiving. For your safety and comfort, and that of your instructor, please do not:

  • Grab onto the instructor or their gear. If you need to hold something for security, your harness is the safest bet. 
  • Flail your arms and legs. Your instructor is already dealing with an extra body attached to them in 120 mph wind. Adding unpredictable limbs into the equation is only going to make them have to work harder to keep you both stable.  
  • Be too rigid. The key to a smooth and successful skydive is to relax. As counterintuitive as that sounds, the more relaxed your body is, the easier it will be to hold an arch position! 
  • Ignore your instructor. If your instructor is giving you directions, it’s for good reason! Make sure you’re listening for instructions and following along.

What if I Had a Negative Skydiving Experience?

At Wisconsin Skydiving Center, we operate as a customer service company that happens to offer A+ skydiving. If your instructor doesn’t deliver superior service, the question of tipping is no longer the issue. If anything about your experience at our dropzone is less than stellar, please reach out to us directly so we can work together on a solution and do better in the future. Your skydive should be the best day of your life!

What About Skydiving Without An Instructor?

Loved your tandem but wonder how many times you need to skydive with an instructor to go without an instructor? This is another common question we hear … and the answer is only one! Once you have a tandem under your belt, you can enroll in our top-notch learn-to-skydive course. Learn more about what’s involved in getting your skydiving license in Wisconsin, and then come and get it!! 

Your first step to the best day ever is to book your tandem skydive. We can’t wait to earn your appreciation! Blue skies!