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Is clapping when the plane lands an Irish thing or does everyone do it?

We investigated.

COoLKfhWIAA0OPA PML / Twitter PML / Twitter / Twitter

TO COINCIDE WITH the launch of the McDonald’s McMór burger, several billboards bragging about the Irishness of the burger have sprung up around town.

One billboard proudly states that the McMór is so Irish that “it claps when the plane lands”.

Anyone who has ever travelled on a Ryanair or Aer Lingus flight will be well familiar with the phenomenon of Irish people breaking into applause when the plane lands safely.

But is this a strictly Irish phenomenon?

Seems like it’s not!

In fact, it seems to be a phenomenon in Britain.

And Portugal.

And America.

(In fact, Ellen DeGeneres once mocked the practice on her show.)


And Germany.

And Italy.

And Malta.

And Japan.

And Russia.

Back in 1997, The New York Times reported on the much-maligned practice, known as The Landing Clap, and noted that it was common amongst all nationalities.

But no culture is immune from participating in this curious ritual. Jordanians, Indians, Kenyans — I have heard ovations from them all. Even the famously unemotional Japanese engage in the Landing Clap.

As for why people insist on clapping when the plane lands? There are a few different theories…

Some people believe it’s a holdover from when people were unaccustomed to air travel.

plane Quora Quora

While others believe it’s the decent thing to do considering  you’ve just been flying in a metal tube.

plane Quora Quora

Either way, one thing is for certain: it ain’t just an Irish thing.

Just how Irish is the ‘Irish goodbye’? 

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