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Applauding the Landing

Travel: Maciej writes up a few reasons why he likes Poland. Aside from the hilarious description of day-to-day formality in speech, there’s this snippet:

In all of Eastern Europe, it’s traditional for passengers on an airplane to applaud when it lands. The cynic in me is tempted to call this a legacy of the Tupolev days, when a safe landing was truly a special occasion, but I prefer to think of it as an acknowledgement that flying ten kilometers above the Earth at near-sonic speeds is something to appreciate. For unknown reasons this custom irritates the stuffing out of certain of my American friends, who will be glad to know it is slowly dying out, reserved now only for more spectacular landings in heavy rain or turbulence.

This is something that’s traditional amongst the older Irish travellers, too (I’ve noticed it on charter flights to holiday destinations). The youngsters don’t do it, of course, unless the plane has just stopped safely after skidding sickeningly sideways across the tarmac.

I’ve always wondered if it was an Irish thing, but now I see it’s not; and given the two nations involved, and the distance between them, I suspect it’s something that people always used to do, and they’re just not doing anymore in the places where air travel is commonplace.

Shame, I’m sure the staff would love the appreciation ;)

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