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 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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  • Gerd P
    Lv 7
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Well, thirty years ago it was quite common. I remember when I had my first commercial flight on duty between Stuttgart and Berlin in 1980 everybody to include the majority of Americans on the flight have applauded after the landing. Nowadays it is quite normal to land safe and nobody will applaud except some first time air travellers..

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  • Ruth
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    No, I don't clap and haven't seen or heard anyone clapped when it lands. I haven't been on budget airline flights before though. It is odd to hear people clap. They clapped might be because they were in one big tour and they cheered up holiday mood for everyone.

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  • 9 years ago

    It certainly doesn't happen everywhere in Europe. Only times I've experienced it is on holiday charter flights. Those usually have lots of inexperienced flyers on them, so that might have something to do with it. Never experienced it on any scheduled flights here in Europe. Maybe there were a lot of tourists o your flights, seeing as how you were flying to tourist hotspots like Rome and Athens, in summer?

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  • 5 years ago

    It actually has more to do with tradition than flight inexperience. Back when commercial flight was just taking off, passengers would clap after a plane landed to commend the pilots skill, seeing as back then there was no auto pilot, the landing was all thanks to the pilot. Now, they clap just for the sake of it. Especially in countries located in Latin America and Europe

    Source(s): Personal experience
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  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    This happens all the time with Ryanair (European low-cost) hahaha

    I think it is just to show appreciation, and it is quite funny too.

    Although with Ryanair, I think they applaud because they actually managed to land the damn thing - a lot of people don't trust them for some reason :S although I think that idea is stupid

    Source(s): Myself - I applaud on every flight
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  • 9 years ago

    Europeans are still often inexperienced with air travel. They still consider a flight to be some sort of circus performance rather than the pilot's job. Applauding implies that a smooth landing is an exceptional accomplishment, rather than the routine work of a qualified pilot. I personally consider applause to be an insult, since it implies that I can't land smoothly unless I get lucky.

    European frequent fliers usually don't make this mistake, but there are still a lot of one-time or infrequent fliers in Europe, much more so than in the U.S. Those who still think that flying is some sort of magical suspension of the laws of nature are much more likely to clap when the airplane lands.

    • Slava K5 years agoReport

      "Europeans are still often inexperienced with air travel" What an enormous load of ignorant bollocks.

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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    If Europeans are anything like latin-caribbeans (who do this all the time when flying home) then i can tell u this is done as a form of celebration for being back home. It is a jubilant act about finally getting to see ones loved ones back home and the places where one grew up.

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  • 9 years ago

    Many people are nervous when flying, and once they feel the wheels contact the ground and the plane slowing down, they impulsively clap to show relief as well as congratulating the pilots and fate for delivering them safely

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  • 9 years ago

    It's an appreciation for the pilots & their staff.

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  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    i think it's really just being courteous towards the pilots and all the crew, just thanking them for helping you arrive safely :)

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