Clapping on airplane when landing?

A month ago we went to Italy, Greece and the Mediterranean. During our flight from NY to Rome on Alitalia when the airplane landed everyone started applauding. I thought it was weird. Then on our transfer flight to Athens from Rome again, when we landed everyone on the flight erupted in applause again. The two... show more A month ago we went to Italy, Greece and the Mediterranean. During our flight from NY to Rome on Alitalia when the airplane landed everyone started applauding. I thought it was weird. Then on our transfer flight to Athens from Rome again, when we landed everyone on the flight erupted in applause again. The two flights were really uneventful normal flights and very smooth.

We've flown all over the US dozens of times and I have never seen this before. Why did folks in Europe do this? is this a custom that didn't make it to the US?
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