Where Do People Clap Their Hands After Landing?

May 6, 2018

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Ahh, Clapping While Flying. Rarely does this simple gesture mean as much as it does on planes, where clapping can be used as a gesture of gratitude or approbation upon safe landing after a difficult descent, or passive aggressively toward a delinquent fellow passenger.

But what does it mean when people just clap over any landing? Apparently we weren’t the only ones wondering about this. TPG Lounge member Ignacio R. recently asked the Facebook group

“Do people clap their hands after landing anywhere else in the world? It happens often in Argentina  and I never knew why. Happy the plane didn’t crash, maybe? I’ve never seen it anywhere else.”

Lounge members responded, and here’s a small compilation of places where readers have seen the most instances of Clapping While Flying.

Where Do People Clap?

While it’s not a normal occurrence in the US, many travelers reported that clapping on an airplane appears to be more common in other countries:

“I’m Puerto Rican, we clap after every flight..was surprised I didn’t hear it on my first international flight ???” — Anthony M.

“I’ve noticed this on many domestic flights within Mexico, mainly on flights to/from smaller regional airports.” — Nick B.

“Dominican Republic, always. I thought it was happiness to be home. ” — Camellia S.

“Every time when I land in El Salvador.” — Noel F.

“I just flew to and from Barcelona from Poland (where I currently live) and it happened both ways. I love it.” — Raj D.

“Hah! My dad used to clap every single time we would land in EZE. But he was crazy and fun-loving as hell and absolutely LOVED every time we went home. People would look at him snobbily.” — Sheila W.

“Israel, but we also kiss the ground” — Amy S.

“When landing in Israel, people clap and usually sing songs and prayers. Happy to be ‘home.'” — Chrissy F.

“Teguicigalpa….it’s one of the most dangerous landings in the world….and the whole plane claps every time.” — Justin J.

“Madeira Island (Portugal) every time… but those are crazy landings.” — Martha N.

“Manila! And I don’t think it has anything to do w/ safety. A lot of Filipinos work abroad so it’s more like a “I’m glad and thankful I’m back home” type thing.” — Carlos G.

“Las Vegas every time I can remember.” — Mike M. (Ignacio quipped, “But that’s because they’re happy sinners!”)

“Every single time when flying Ryan air  — Lorna T.

Image courtesy of Etienne DE MALGLAIVE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images.
(Image by Etienne DE MALGLAIVE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images.)

“I’ve seen it when it was a rough landing or some kinda emergency (we had to circle once because they weren’t convinced the nose gear was locked down).” — Scott M.

“South Africa ??. Although I just experienced this for the first time on a 2 hr MIA>LGA flight.” — Ah D.

“Haven’t had that happen on an US domestic flight in a while. Nor on my trips to Europe. I remember it years ago it was more common.” — Jesse A.

“The first time I ever saw it domestically was on a Southwest flight. Used to be more common there.” — Steve K.

I’m All For It!

But what do travelers think about the practice itself? Should applause be reserved for extreme cases of averted crisis, or should it be an “every flight” gesture of appreciation?

“I clap because I’m glad we are there.?” — Ben K.

“Clapping for a job well done by the pilot and crew.” — Ginger E.

“I always thought the clap was to congratulate the flight crew and team of doing an excellent job.” — Dev C.

“Had a flight where about 2 hours were, as our pilot said, ‘Mother Nature’s Rollercoaster’ everyone clapped when we landed. I was just pretty happy to be on the ground. Only flight I’ve ever been on that there were a couple times I seriously wondered if we’d make it.” — Andy S.

“I had one of my worst flights last week from ORD to ALB… boy, did I feel like clapping!” — Jessica T.

“I’ve always found it odd that it’s not more common to show appreciation for the pilots and flight crew by clapping. They deserve it.” — Sandra A.

(Photo by Kees Smans / Getty Images)

“We clapped when we landed in Orlando on a DFW [Dallas] to MCO but only because we had been diverted to Atlanta to refuel and wait on the tarmac until it was safe to land in Florida (bad weather). For awhile, it was questionable whether we’d actually get to leave Atlanta. Lot of folks with kids (myself included) and big Disney plans the next morning so it was a relief to arrive!” — Jenna L.

“We clap for a good play, a good concert, why not clap for a good flight? I’m a nervous flyer and I always clap, quietly usually but if the whole plane claps, I’m right in there ??. I think it a total act of respect and appreciation. These men and women work hard, as do the whole crew, why not show some appreciation?” — Tracy P.

Keep Your Hands Down

But others TPG readers disagree and think clapping after a landing is annoying or inappropriate when it’s been a routine flight.

“I just hate when people do that.” — Debbie T.

“Funny, I was just thinking about the last time I landed at home in HNL [Honolulu] when a bunch of people clapped. I was thinking ‘OK, is it a thing now to celebrate surviving the the flight’?” — Jerrod K.

“I think I’d be annoyed if someone sat at my desk all day and clapped every time I completed a task I’m being paid to do. Sort of insulting to celebrate something I’m trained to do.” — Madeline S.

“Lots of first-time flyers clap. I wonder if they clap when they park their car safely for the first time too?” — Drew J.

“It doesn’t happen every time but I hate when it does. Obviously I’m happy to land but I find it super annoying. If it’s a rough flight, then sure show some love to the crew.” — Chris M.

And finally, landing isn’t the only time passengers might find reason to clap…

“I’ve seen the passengers clap when planes finally took off from Chicago O’Hare… after a typical, and usually unnecessary, multi-hour delay.” — Patrick R.

Featured image by Jose Luis Pelaez Inc. / Getty Images.

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