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Why do passengers always clap when a plane lands at its destination?

This may be just an Irish thing or it may just be on Summer flights to popular holiday destinations such as the Canaries… Either way, it’s pretty strange when you think about it! Passengers on board wanting to clap when a plane lands. The pilot’s job is to land the plane. Therefore why is he clapped?

If an 84-year-old granny landed the Boeing 737-800 in a stiff 30-knot crosswind with one functioning engine and a hydraulics leak – I would certainly applaud that!!! If you are on a local bus between your house and the shopping center… Do you clap the driver? Do you get clapped at work? (Unless of course, you are an actor or comedian on stage)

I don’t get applauded for every advert or website I design or every web script or app I write. The next time you are dealing with the service industry – in the bank, at the library, or in the restaurant – you get good service; give them a rousing round of applause to thank them and tell them you learned about it on your last flight.

Is it just an Irish or European Phenomenon?

I have traveled extensively in the USA, Canada, Asia, and Eastern Europe and I have rarely found this happening in those locations. In fact, I don’t recall any US or Canadian flights applauding at all. Now you could argue that applause is a way of saying thanks, but it seems strange that it is one of the only forms of transport that does this. I have been in taxis, busses, ferries, cable cars, and aircraft seems to be the only place where people clap on arrival. Remember when a place lands, the cabin crew and the flight team have a lot to do. The pilots are getting instructions on routing via taxiways so they can get the plane to the gate and the cabin crew are getting instructions from the pilots / other cabin crew who may be on all-call also. 

What do you think? Is it just a way of saying thank you or is it just in us as Irish people, that we clap when a plane lands?