Sometimes, it’s not exactly clear if you're being a jerk, so the Lifehacker team spent the last week tackling this exact topic through "Jerk Week". Here’s one example I’d like to share with readers that straddles the "jerk" line: On a recent flight, I was seated next to a woman who seemed perfectly normal and polite. After a brief disagreement on political events — I’ll spare you the details, but it somehow came up — we continued to sit amicably alongside one another, despite our differences.
Upon landing, she suddenly broke out into applause and was joined by at least a handful of other passengers. It was nearly 1am when we landed, and naturally, I was startled. Upon seeing my reaction and refusal to clap, she turned to me — and without hesitation — called me a “snob”.
Look, it’s great that we were alive but the pilots will not hear my applause, nor will they care. But am I just being an arsehole? Generally, I don’t care if others clap, I just don’t want to nor should I be made to feel bad about it. But maybe this was just a miscommunication; perhaps she believed I was judging her for applauding, in which case, “snob” might be totally fitting.
The Washington Post recently took a deep-dive into the origins of why some people clap after landing. There are reasons to believe it might just be a coping mechanism for infrequent fliers and particularly after long or turbulent flights.
According to our managing editor, Virginia, it may also simply be a matter of cultural differences. (A Travel and Leisure story from 2016 suggests this premise, too.)
So to our readers, we ask: Do you clap when your plane has made it to its destination? (If so, please tell us why.) And do you care if other passengers clap?