Why People Clap When Their Plane Lands: The Real (And The Not-So-Real) Reasons

Whether you’ve been flying for 45 minutes or 4.5 hours, it invariably happens…the plane lands and at least one person claps.

What’s up with that?


There’s actually been quite a lot written about the topic, from the likes of Slate, ABC News and Southern Living. But we wanted to go a more scientific model. One that had done much research with a substantial representation of people who fly. So we went right to the source.

Orlando International Airport’s Twitter feed.

We’ve already written about how MCO’s Twitter feed is one of our favorites in terms of travel-related content. So when their Guru Of All Things Social Media asked this question on Twitter, I was VERY interested in hearing the answers. And there were some great ones that ran the gamut from absolutely sincere to…not so much. You decide which is which…

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So there ya go. 😉

Are you a clapper? Why or why not?

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

5 thoughts on “Why People Clap When Their Plane Lands: The Real (And The Not-So-Real) Reasons”

  1. I guess that I’m kind of old school, but I think that the pilot landing the plane without killing anyone is pretty much the most basic requirement for the job. Applause should not be required.

    1. Yeah…as you can see, lots of people have different reasons for clapping. I’m sure there are bunches of reasons for not clapping, too 😉

  2. I’ve never understood clapping, and have only experienced it a handful of times out of hundreds of flights. Arrived in Turkey one time and the person beside me started clapping and noticed that I wasn’t. Asked her why she was clapping and she said it was to thank her god for bringing the plane down safely. I pointed out that her god (and all gods, for that matter) was a fantasy that didn’t exist, and she should thank the thousands of aerospace engineers that have improved the designs of airplanes over the last 50 years. They, at least, exist.

    She looked at me like I’d grown a second head.

    1. The way I look at it, mine is not to judge why someone claps – or what their religious convictions are, TBH. I did think that someone of the replies were amusing, though 😉

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