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

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

by SharonKurheg

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?

When the pandemic was diminishing and people were flying again, we noticed more folks were clapping when we landed. But that could almost make sense, since so many were just so happy they could fly again. But what about before Covid (B.C.?)

There’s actually been quite a lot written about the topic, from Slate, ABC News and Southern Living. But we wanted to go with 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 some great ones 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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Christian March 1, 2019 - 8:26 pm

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.

SharonKurheg March 2, 2019 - 12:38 am

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 😉

What's Grosser than Gross in an Airline Meal, and Spending the Night With American Airlines - View from the Wing March 2, 2019 - 5:06 pm

[…] Why people clap when their plane lands don’t be one of those people. […]

Rob philip March 3, 2019 - 2:43 am

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.

SharonKurheg March 3, 2019 - 11:54 am

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 😉

derek November 14, 2020 - 11:38 pm

Mexicans and Puerto Ricans seem to clap more often. I’ve experienced more clapping with flights landing in Texas and Puerto Rico.

angieibarra November 15, 2020 - 12:34 am

I’ve only been on one flight which everyone – including me, clapped. It was because we went through a really bad turbulence and it was just a great relief to be on steady ground. These are interesting and amusing answers too, thanks for curating it!

Robert November 18, 2020 - 11:13 am

I was on an early morning SwissAir flight filled with business travelers on which everyone not only clapped, but cheered loudly upon landing. Perhaps it was because we flew through a flock of migratory birds upon take-off, immediately losing an engine. The remaining engine was damaged and strained to provide power while we made big circles burning up fuel and allowing time for foam on the runway. The loud cheering was in stark contrast to the dead silence that prevailed while we circled, including silence from the cockpit. Upon landing the pilot finally spoke and apologized for breaking the plane, saying he would look for a replacement.

Jan November 18, 2020 - 9:53 pm

Have not been on many flights where people clapped but after any rough trips, we ALL clapped – glad to be on the ground safely!

Alex Ashton November 19, 2020 - 8:43 pm

If it’s United, I clap as soon as I confirm we’ve landed at the right airport.

mike murphy July 3, 2022 - 9:49 am

monkey see, monkey do reflex ?

Harry July 7, 2022 - 8:54 am

I typically only clap after a rough air flight to thank the crew for getting us to our destination safely ……. or if has been a very long flight (8-12 hours) and we finally made it to the end of the line!



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