If you’re Latvian and you know it, clap your hands

Flying to Dublin from Riga means flying with Ryanair. It also means travelling with a planeload of Latvians fleeing the country off to visit loved ones in the Emerald Isle. While this may not sound like the most thrilling prospect in the world, there is a definite advantage.

If you’re ever in doubt as to the nationality of the other passengers you’re flying with, there is a sure-fire way to tell if they are Latvian: wait until the cabin crew announce that they’re going to start the inflight refreshments service, then listen for the rustle of tinfoil. Latvians are far too tight clever to spend their hard-earned cash on a ham and cheese ‘panini’. No, no, they’ll bring their own food with them, thank you very much. This is great as it means that, no matter where you’re sitting, the wine will be beside you in under a minute. You’ll never see a trolley rattle down the aisle so fast on any other flight – it’s a wonder the stewardesses don’t get whiplash.

Latvian packed lunch

Latvian packed lunch

I can handle flying Ryanair. I can navigate the quagmire of the online booking process. I can cope with the cattle call at the gate, the garish interior of the planes, the non-stop sales attempts, the non-reclining seats, and yes, even the ridiculous trumpet blast that announces that ‘Yet another Ryanair flight has arrived on time’. What I can’t deal with is the fact that Latvians CLAP every time a plane lands.

Why? Why do they do this? It’s the pilot’s job to land the plane. It’s really the least he can do considering the only other option is a raging inferno. Do you clap when a waiter gets your order right? Do you clap when your doctor prescribes you antibiotics? Do you clap when the cashier at Rimi gives you back the right change? They’re doing their jobs, just the same as the pilots are, so why not? How do you decide who to clap and who not to?

I flew home for Christmas a couple of years ago. It was a particularly harsh winter with pretty much the whole of Europe under a blanket of snow. Naturally, there was no problem taking off from Riga Airport. The Latvians are used to snow. The problems started as we were approaching Dublin, and when I say ‘problems’, I mean that the airport closed. We were redirected towards Belfast – ten minutes later Belfast Airport closed. We were sent to Glasgow Prestwick and were finally able to land.

What did the Latvians do? They CLAPPED. I wanted to stand up and scream, “What the **** are you clapping for? We’re not even in the right ******* country!”

It seems to me that they’re clapping the wrong people anyway. It’s far safer in the skies than it is on the streets of Riga. I think I’m going to start clapping the bus and taxi drivers who deliver me safely to my destination far more often.

Are you with me Latvians? Hopefully, together we can spread ‘the clap’…




About BerLinda

Adjusting to life in Germany, after living in Latvia for four years. Should be easy, right?
This entry was posted in Humor, Humour, Latvian people, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

159 Responses to If you’re Latvian and you know it, clap your hands

  1. P says:

    I had some minor post-car crash stitching done to my forehead when I was a child. My parents thanked the doctors and nurses, but they didn’t clap. That’s why clapping on planes makes no sense at all to me. Even if the pilot did land smoothly, he or she doesn’t really deserve a clap, as he merely did his job (albeit well). What he or she probably deserves is a favorable comment upon leaving the plane.

  2. I think it’s more a sign of relief and joy about having survived than a sign of appreciation for the pilot (who doesn’t hear it anyway).
    It’s the secular version of making the sign of the cross.

    • Expat Eye says:

      You’re far more likely to be killed by an idiotic driver here than on a flight out of here! I think I’ll start clapping every time I make it home in the evening!

  3. Daki says:

    I assure you – clapping is NOT a Latvian thing, it’s a Ryanair thing (because thank god, everyone survived the flight and the plane didn’t crash). Noone ever claps when flying with better airlines.. you should try flying at least with airbaltic – you’ll see a full plane with latvians not clapping after the landing..

    • Expat Eye says:

      It’s no wonder nobody claps on Air Baltic – usually 3-4 times more expensive, less luggage allowed and the same service as on Ryanair 😉

      • CrazyCatLady says:

        Yeah, but they fly from more civilised airports like Gatwick.
        By the time you pay for a cab (travelling from leafy Surrey) to / fro Stansted or Luton you’ve lost your potential savings, and sanity. Plus their clientele is a bit better. A bit.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Yeah, I do think it’s part of being an inexperienced or nervous flyer. I’m neither therefore I’ve never done it! I paid €6 for a glass of wine on my last Air Baltic flight – I certainly didn’t feel like clapping after that 😉

    • CrazyCatLady says:

      Bullcrap. I’ve flown airBaltic since BA were pushed out, and the contingent on those flights DO clap, in Riga AND London. It’s embarrassing.

      When the said clapping occurs, unreservedly I make a very chavvy (read: full of defiance) point of loudly tutting, looking around bemusedly, and asking my “neighbour”, “Are they f***ing stupid?” (I’d use “retarded” but fear that my intended audience wouldn’t understand what that means), accompanied by a mocking impression of a circus seal clap (apologies to seals) + a facial expression that would make Jim Carrey proud.
      So profound is my harered of these idiots. I just want to slap them.

      BTW – BA days (pre 9/11 and economy airlines) were no better!!! ALL flights to / from Riga have been full of reprobates.

      I’ve been disadvantaged enough to have been born in Latvia, though luckily not an ounce of their genetic makeup.
      Furthermore, I’m marked for the rest of my life as being “one of them” (which I am neither by ethnicity, mentality, nor nationality) – the biggest insult and curse of my life.
      Trying to explain this to anyone is impossible, even though I keep repeating that – a cat can have kittens in the oven, but that doesn’t make them biscuits!!!

  4. Liga says:

    I have lived in Latvia my whole life.. and I am still wondering about the clap thing. It’s weird and always makes me feel uncomfortable during flights.

    • Expat Eye says:

      You’re sure you’re Latvian?? 😉

    • Daira says:

      It’s the same for me. I’m Latvian, but I have never clapped and the thing that others do makes me feel uncomfortable. As far as I have seen, it’s happening only during the Ryanair flights and it makes it even more incomprehensible.So it’s mystery for me, too, even thought I’m Latvian.
      About bringing our own food- I used to do it myself, because they didn’t offer proper food, which didn’t contain wheat flour, from which I had allergy, so had to bring my own meal 🙂 But I’m pretty sure it’s not the case for most of the people who are doing so.

  5. haemhweg says:

    Well, what’s bad about clapping? Just paying respect and gratitude to the crew that did their job well. Last 2 hours your life depended on them and they didn’t let you down, so what’s the problem? It is just a tradition, and I guess Irish people also got plenty of them, possibly even more annoying than clapping after landing.

    And is potato some sort of reference to Latvian jokes?

  6. Laine says:

    It must have happened very recently, a few years ago the only people clapping would be foreigners on the plane.
    As to bringing your own lunch, Ryanair leaving Riga has nothing on Brittany-Paris train on which everyone opens their lunch boxes at exactly the same moment (12:30 was it? Not quite sure.) As I was not that prepared I nearly died of hunger seeing all those sausages, boiled eggs and chicken fillets. And they all took a nice long lunch, at least an hour with wine that they also had with them.

  7. wasd says:

    That claping thingy is really disturbing and annoying at the same time. I would like to know pilots toughts on this. Hey, you did not fail this time. Here Ill clap on that.

  8. I’m… not sure how hard I’m going to “work” to spread the clap…

    But I might start applauding those I transact with more often. It’s hard, actually, because a single clap followed by a rub of the hands might just mean, “Ooh, lovely!” but a full blown round of applause comes across as sarcastic.

    Oh! They were being sarcastic? Because they weren’t even in the right country?

  9. Daina says:

    They clapped when the plane landed at the wrong airport in the wrong country? Well, I assume they were just happy to not be in a tin can up in the sky anymore. Because otherwise I see absolutely no rational explanation. I’ve only experienced clapping passengers after a particularly harrowing ride.

    As for the travel snacks, yeah, I can totally relate. I do it myself, my mom did it whenever we traveled, I’ve seen Latvians do it a great degree. One of my favorite stories on this topic: a friend of mom’s was visiting from Latvia. Mom, Dad and visitor are driving 4hrs to a Latvian property for an event, and my younger sister catches a ride with them. At some point as they are driving in the countryside (where you might be able to find a McDonald’s or gas station, but not much else), and sis states she is getting hungry. Latvian visitor promptly opens her handbag and pulls out a “kotlete” (basically – pork hamburger without the bun) in a plastic bag, and offers it to sis. I think sis declined. Had she offered something that doesn’t need to be refrigerated, sis may have been more likely to accept the offer. (This story NOT to be confused with the one about teenaged Latvian-American acquaintance vomiting in a handbag in moving car after a night of enjoying too much Latvian partying.) 😉

  10. Did my research. Definitely not just a Latvian thing. 😛
    Americans: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_do_americans_clap_after_a_plane_lands?#slide=1
    Russians (there’s a nice comment from pilot): http://students.sras.org/why-do-russians-clap-on-planes/
    Germans: http://www.toytowngermany.com/lofi/index.php/t1798.html
    Israelis: http://www.experienceproject.com/question-answer/Why-Do-ISRAELIS-Clap-After-An-AIRPLANE-LANDING/1982591
    Puertoricans: http://www.chacha.com/question/why-do-puerto-ricans-clap-when-planes-land

    etc.,etc., etc.

    But in overall it’s like the neverending dispute on toilet paper – to which side you should turn it. Everyone has their own opinion and pros and cons for the situation. I’m partly on team “Clap”, as I always clap when I land in Riga, simply because I am happy my butt has just landed on my beloved Latvian ground. I never clap when I land in other cities.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha, I like this part – When people are stressed, they urgently need to release their emotion. They do something bizarre, for example scream, dance around, or some other type of unusual behavior, not really in keeping with etiquette or social standards. And thanking the pilot and crew is another example of this behavior. This explanation is supported by the observation that clapping occurs more often on charter flights. After all, charter flights are used mostly by people who fly once or twice a year for vacation, and, accordingly, are more nervous as they are less accustomed to flying.
      There’s a never-ending dispute on toilet paper?!

      • Don’t tell me you didn’t know…. 🙂

      • Expat Eye says:

        Oh my god, what have I been missing out on all these years!? 😉 Actually, just remembered that a friend of mine once changed the way I had it in the holder – told me I had it the wrong way round – I didn’t realise there was a ‘wrong way round’ 🙂

      • The whole world is divided in factions… 🙂
        My ex-boyfriends mom was one of the fanatical ones. Each time she visited, she changed toilet paper and turned it the other way round.
        You’ve missed a lot… http://thehairpin.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Over-or-under.jpeg 😀

      • Expat Eye says:

        Wow, people have really put a lot of thought into this! Maybe I should look into some Expat Eye on Latvia Loo Roll… 😉 I’m sure plenty of people would wipe their asses with that 😉

      • Daina says:

        Surprised you were not aware of the over/under debate! An ex-boyfriend of mine was a proponent of ‘under’ (even though he had no feline or human children), and it drove me nuts! Over makes so much more sense in most situations!! This is definitely a topic worth investigating in LV. 😉

      • Expat Eye says:

        I’d never really noticed at all until my friend said under was ‘wrong’ 😉 Now I leave it over, until I accidentally put it under… 😉 How do you feel about pineapple on pizzas? Seemingly that causes a big divide too 😉

  11. Vanessa says:

    hahaha – that’s hilarious!

  12. Anna says:

    Oh yes, everyone clapped on my Miami-Moscow flight. Hey, you gotta celebrate being in a tin box 10 km above earth and not dying!

  13. Kristine says:

    Mind you, Latvians didn’t start this, erm, tradition. I remember that approx. 10 years ago when i was flying Latvians NEVER clapped, only stared at those few clapping passengers with WTF looks. Dunno what caused it to start. I always thought that was a Western European/ American thing anyway.

    • Expat Eye says:

      I’d never noticed it before I moved here but then maybe it did happen at some stage in the past! It’s just that it seems to be EVERY flight from and to here – that’s what makes it so noticeable!

    • CrazyCatLady says:

      I started “commuting” between London and Riga in 1998. They did clap. A lot.

  14. 1WriteWay says:

    Nice pun there at the end 😉 By the way, after reading the post before this one, are you headed for Germany for your next expat adventure?

    • Expat Eye says:

      Yes, I am! Expat Eye on Germany will be next – god help the Germans 😉 My mam is already warning me not to piss them off as much haha!

      And HUZZAH, you’re my 10,000th comment! I was really hoping it would be a regular reader that I like! 🙂

      • 1WriteWay says:

        Wow, how cool is that … making the 10,000th comment 🙂 So when will you go to Germany?

      • Expat Eye says:

        Hopefully September! I can’t WAIT! 😉
        I’ve been watching the stats all day wondering who it would be haha! I’m such a loser 😉

      • 1WriteWay says:

        Ha ha! No, you’re not a loser! I should check mine out, but I think I have a long way to go before anyone hits 10,000. So will you keep the same blog, maybe just change the name?? I don’t want to lose you!!!

      • Expat Eye says:

        Don’t worry, I’ll keep going! Not sure how I’ll work it but will definitely leave this one up too!

  15. bevchen says:

    It’s not just Latvians… it seems to be Ryanair passangers in general. I don’t understand it either. The funniest experience I had was when everybody clapped then there was announcement that the autopilot had landed the plane. Hahahaha.

  16. Antuanete says:

    What is most annoying about that clapping – people do it as soon as plane has touched the ground and still runs with speed several hundred km/h. Actually, very many airplane accidents occur exactly then, before plane has stopped – crashes with other objects, poor braking etc. So clapping before plane has come to halt, is ridiculous. If it’s really hard landing, though, nobody even dares to clap before plane has stopped: colleague told about one case when Finnair managed to land in Riga in third attempt due to heavy wind; flight attendants brought out sparkling wine for everyone after that, and all passengers celebrated together with crew.

  17. With clapping everyone says Thank you to the pilot, the same as we (all nationalities in the UK) say to bus driver. Clapping is just a polite way, and lots of fun for children.

    • Expat Eye says:

      I’ve had it confirmed – the pilot can’t hear it 🙂

      • Inga says:

        yes, pilot can’t hear it, but, f.e., AirBaltic crew always inform pilots that people were clapping. and I have seen people clapping also in Barcelona – Zürich, Zürich – Amsterdam etc. flights so it is not only Latvian thing. And we are also clapping in sports club after a group trainings.

      • Expat Eye says:

        So many clapping opportunities I’ve been missing out on 😉

    • CrazyCatLady says:

      Tell your folk to stop. It’s stupid.
      As for the bus driver – he can’t hear you; the only reason I see the gratitude due justifiable is that he doesn’t have to stop at every stop (as you may well know), but he’s obliged following your request.
      The whole bus thing must be a rural affair, try London transport- not a Thank You within an earshot.

  18. Cindi says:

    The clapping with the landing? I’m not sure how I’d feel about that if it broke out around me! Not sure I can join you in spreading the clap. I have a reputation to maintain, after all.

  19. mmarinaa says:

    The only time I’ve been on a flight where they clapped, it was a flight full of Italians. And it was a super choppy descent and we were all relieved to have made it and I clapped right along with them.

  20. barbedwords says:

    Ha ha, fantastic! The first time I flew to America, everyone clapped and I thought it must be an American thing but it never happened again. I liked it! I’m all for spreading the clap 😉

  21. freebutfun says:

    But what’s wrong with being polite and showing appreciation? In a shop it’s quite a lot easier to say the words in person than in an airplane. Ps. I may be a bit biased on this one as we clap too 😀 pss judging by the comments, it’s pretty common. Maybe it’s just the English speaking world that lacks manners (as my kiwi husband nevergets used to the clapping either)? 😉

    • Expat Eye says:

      We still haven’t figured out if the pilot can hear the clapping – I’m on it 😉 I say thank you to the cabin crew when I’m getting off. Isn’t that enough?! 😉

      • freebutfun says:

        Now I’ll have to ask our friend the pilot about this! 😀

      • Expat Eye says:

        I’ve just asked mine 😉 Let’s see who comes back first! Mine’s Dutch – where’s yours from??

      • Expat Eye says:

        The pilot can’t hear it! 🙂

      • freebutfun says:

        No, the Finnair pilot can’t either 😀 But I had to get back with “does it matter? Is it nice to know about it anyway?”. I just don’t seem to know when to stop…

        PS I always thought it was thanking all the staff at once. I know, *I don’t know when to stop* with this trivial thing… 😀

      • Expat Eye says:

        Ha ha! You can stop now 😉 I just thank the crew as I’m getting off and if the pilot happens to come out, I thank him/her too 🙂 Here’s what my friend said:
        Me: Hey, quick question for you – when you land a plane and the passengers clap, can you hear them in the cockpit?!
        Pilot: Nehhh… or nobody is clapping when I am landing 🙂 But seriously…it’s a ridiculous tradition of non experienced passengers.
        So there you have it!

      • freebutfun says:

        …in your opinion… 😉

        PS How much experience do you think a pain in the ass like me will need to stop clapping? (because, truthfully, earlier it was just something you do, but now you’ve given the clapping a whole lot more meaning! I’m so excited by all this that I am thinking of booking a flight to Ireland asap)

      • Expat Eye says:

        Ha ha, go for it! If they’ve had a couple of drinks, the Irish might join in 😉 I wouldn’t but maybe some of them would! Or maybe you’ll luck out and there’ll be a couple of Latvians on the plane. Or Italians 😉

      • freebutfun says:

        😀 😀

        I’ve just mapped out the flights for your next holidays: Latvia -Finland-Germany-Italy sounds enjoyable enaough (or are you going on a roadtrip…?)!

      • Expat Eye says:

        That would be a lot of driving 🙂 I’ll just be there to sigh and roll my eyes at the clappers 😉

      • freebutfun says:

        Fair enough (or you might just choose another route…) 🙂

        More seriously; it is kind of funny to notice how you just grow up to something never really questioning it unless you happen to a marry a foreigner or to read a great blog.

      • Expat Eye says:

        And I grew up not clapping and not questioning it 😉 I must marry a foreigner – think of the blog posts… 🙂

  22. nancytex2013 says:

    I used to think it was a European thing, because every time I would fly to Europe (in the late 70’s and 80’s) (other than the U.K., mind you), the plan would explode in applause at the landing, regardless how rough or smooth said landing was.

    I chalked it up to a bunch of older Europeans believing the aircraft had been propelled by witchcraft or other similar magic for the previous 8 hours, and that only the Pilot’s prowess, guided by the hand of God, is how they managed to land safely and not die in a fiery crash.

    But then I started flying to the Caribbean in the late 80’s and 90’s and saw that even sun-deprived Canadians, fleeing the harsh, cold winter on a horribly uncomfortable charter airplane, also exploded into applause upon landing.

    I chalked that up to being drunk (at least the charter airlines offered free /cheap booze at the time).

    These days I don’t experience the clapping quite as often, but – rest assured – if there is a large contingent of first-generation Euro immigrants (of a certain age) on my flight to Las Vegas, BOOM, they are clapping when we land.

    Of course, they could just be trying to curry favour with the ‘good luck’ Gods and hope that it carries over to their gaming at the casinos.

    • Expat Eye says:

      An aircraft propelled by witchcraft would be fantastic 😉 Let’s get on that 😉

      • nancytex2013 says:

        That’s all I can figure as to why they think it’s so miraculous that we are a) in the air; and b) able to land.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Ah, what would we write about if there weren’t mad people? 😉

      • Emmi says:

        One German tradition worth mentinong – after class German students always drum with their fists on the table to show respect to the teacher for the lesson. doesnt happen in Uk though. Then some other user posted smth about Russians congratulating each other when leaving the shower. Maybe its one of those mood things – certain nations are just in the mood to celebrate certian events, regardles if the plane landed easily or after a turmoil, whether the lesson was good or not. I guess its just a tradition.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Ha ha, yes, I’ve read that about Russians! Funny! Better get used to table banging then – thanks for the tip! Or now I’ll know I’m doing something wrong if there’s no banging! Argh!

  23. Jude says:

    Don’t think this is a Latvian only thing. I’ve flown many places from different startpoints and seems like clapping is the norm these days

  24. linnetmoss says:

    I’ve never been on a plane where they clapped. I think it’s rather charming. But it’s like standing ovations with American audiences–they should not be doing it every time, only when the pilot wows the passengers by touching down ever so gently, yet with panache…

  25. The perfect post to read on a Saturday with my morning coffee! Love this light-hearted, humorous post! I am going to applaud on the next flight in Asia to see how many strange and blank stares I get. I bet I can get others to join in!! LOL

  26. I live in Turkey and fly to office 4 times a month (internal flights). What I have observed – people, who travel frequently (mostly business-men), never clap. Because for them flying is same routine as taking a bus or tram. But those, who fly for holidays – and yes, especially Latvians who fly to Antalya (and has been consuming wine since they got to airport in Riga) – they are very excited, taking photos of clouds and, for sure, clapping when plane lands. Even if it lands heavy like a potato fallen from sky.

    My only question – can pilot even hear it? This always crosses my mind. I don’t think he can, so it makes totally no sense to clap.

  27. astrameklere says:

    Linda, don’t you realise – ever since proletarian buses started to fly, it seems a miracle to passangers. So, they clap. Sorry, but I’ve flew BA, Lufthansa and SAS, and it never happens there, except extremely hard landing. 🙂

  28. Tidl says:

    oh c’mon! other nations also do it and here I did not mean only Russians.. Actually, I don’t even remember a plane which landed without somebody clapping, no matter where I was…

  29. frequent traveler (and a Latvian) with both deep-cheap and regular airlines and often to and from Riga – I applaud this post 🙂 no, will not join to “spread “the clap” 😀 but I do remember one occasion on a plane (with no Latvians I am quite sure – it was not that part of the world) where we truly struggled through a heavy wind, rain, storm etc. and I have no idea how those pilots did what they are supposed to do, but yes – after a deadening silence all passengers were applauding and no nobody wanted to get up before signs were off 🙂 I must have been quite traumatized by this one – as I have no recollection what the flight was and to where (except it was not in Europe) – and it might be “imaginary” too 😀

  30. Kavalkade Krew says:

    Have you trapped you a man yet?

  31. 😀 I think I have only been on one flight where the passengers all clapped and I’m sure it was out of pure relief that we had made it through thunder, lightning and terrible turbulence.

    • Expat Eye says:

      That I can understand! Gratitude for being alive is worth a clap! 🙂

      • Not long ago I read confessions of pilots that those really dangerous situations on plane definitely are not when passangers think – landing and turbulence is bullshit. There are other things which unprofiessionals like us won’t even notice. So, maybe it’s worth clapping each time – as you never know, what’s really happening during the flight. 🙂

      • Expat Eye says:

        I think I’d rather not know! I’m a very happy flyer at the moment!

  32. Good on them for bringing their own lunch. Bloody rip off otherwise.

    I’ve never been able to figure out who claps and who doesn’t. If Germans do it, I never got the memo, but I think I’ve been on flights where they did… I know that the landing is the trickiest part of the whole endeavour, but it seem ridiculous. It’s a routine part of a pilot’s job, it’s not like an athlete breaking a world record or something. Who came up with this??? I think it warrants an investigation/survey…

    • Expat Eye says:

      Me too 🙂 I could understand clapping the pilot who landed that plane in the Hudson River for example. Now he deserved a standing ovation!

  33. Marika says:

    I’m Latvian and I don’t clap. And I have never stopped wondering why people do clap, such an odd thing. Talking about getting up before the plane has stopped, I believe it’s because most people don’t even understand they have been told to stay seated, not that it’s an excuse.

  34. rower says:

    okay, i must admint – i’m one of those who clap at flights. not because of “safe landing”, but on the ocasion of soft landing. especially at high winds or other difficult conditions, when pilots job is done greatly, not just done. if you ask me – if i ever clap (should’nt “applaud” be a better word?) for cashier at a supermarket or whatever – no, i do not. i smile, say “hello”, “howd’you” and “thank you”. there is almost no other way i can thank that specific person for doing his/her work good instead of just doing it. probably, i’d tip the girl (or lad) at cashier, if i knew that they are allowed to accept tips AND they’d done their job well. and i would’nt tip any waiter, who’s not doing the job at least above the average. i happen say “thank you” for bus and cab drivers (and for tram drivers, too) if they happen to do their job better than “drop that 5 stone piece of dump somewhere near tvaika2”. 😉
    i’ve heard of tibetian (or japanese?) saying “one who can not tell gratitude and gratuity apart has earned only the latter”. maybe it’s not about just the job done for many other passengers, too ?

  35. Paul says:

    I think that even if the plane has a dodgy landing and skids along the runway, sparks flying everywhere and eventually parks on the grass whilst the fire engines chase behind, there will still be die-hard clappers..

    ..as well the usual mob standing up before it stops to get their luggage so that they can be first off and first through immigration 🙂

    ..Ohh and the sound of constant received text messages soon after the plane crosses the coast around Liepaja towards Riga

    Quick thought.. when might they not clap?

  36. Emmi says:

    In Germany they do that too… recently flew from Berlin to Brussels and they clapped.. I thought everyone does that

  37. Never did Ryanair, though I did travel a lot on other deep-discount airlines.

    Maybe the Latvians are applauding the plane for reaching its destination in one piece…

  38. Liene says:

    I haven’t travelled much in former USSR, but I’ve heard that clapping is habit from USSR because landing a plane was celebration indeed. I wouldn’t take any flights in current Russia as there still are too many plane crashes nowadays.

  39. Every time I fly I want to crawl under my seat when they (latvians) start clapping. I remember first time I flew to Bristol with Ryanair I was 19y old – when we landed and others started clapping, I was looking around, and for a moment I thought I’ve gone mental, that this isn’t happening, that maybe I should rip out that page from my passport where my nationality is mentioned, so noone would even consider a possibility that I was one of those weird clapping people 😀 When I got out of airplane, my face was red like tomato, and my friend, who was picking me up, couldn’t stop giggling 😀

    • Expat Eye says:

      You’d have to rip off the front cover too 😉

    • CrazyCatLady says:

      You are scarred for life. For. Ever.
      My passport may read “definitely NOT a Latvian”, but my “Place of birth” line will forever be equivalent to a medieval branding mark on my forehead.
      I can run, but I can’t hide. Though I get my foreign national’s passport out during flights, just so when the clapping starts- the world can see – she’s not one of them. Honestly.

  40. SilvyRiga says:

    You could’ve written ITALIANS instead of LATVIANS and your post would still make perfectly sense 🙂

  41. lizard100 says:

    So did you ever see this?

    Awesome for Ryan air !

  42. TRex says:

    Russians clap as well. Caught me totally of guard first time I visited Moscow back in the 00’s.

  43. Mārčuks says:

    Does only the latvians have this habit? One of my friends told me that anyone does that. He believes that this came from movies. But he is latvian too, I must admit. Maybe he thinks that everyone does like that, and other latvians think the same. So maybe thats the reason why we clap our hands after successful landing. 😀

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hmm, imaginary movie – good explanation! 🙂

    • JMC says:

      Currently I would say only one thing tp make everyone clear with that ……………… just take a plane to anywhere in the world (I mean a ”normal” plane with a ”normal” company (great respect anyway for Ryanair and others low cost company’s) and with ”normal” people (great respect anyway for all who clap hands around the world :D) …………and you will see a big difference …………… and believe me when you flew 8, 10 or more hours …….you are happy to to reach the ”right” destination and maybe even more :D. I wonder if the Ryanair and others 😀 passengers would clap their hands after a flight of 8 or 10 hours in a Ryanair or others planes 😀
      So as we said in my country ………… everyone see midday at his door 😀 ……………..

  44. Bob Lewis says:

    I hope that last phrase isn’t really what you meant!!!

  45. duddud says:

    LOL, i’ve been wondering about same thing every time i come to Riga. Whats wrong with you, people?

  46. People who clap anything – apart from a 1970s prog rock band performance (now, or anytime since the 70s) – should be pelted with locust droppings and broad beans.

  47. charlie says:

    been to Latvia about 20ish times now over the last 7 years…love the place…. but the clapping always baffled me… we’ve got to the point now where we join in 😀 …. one of the scariest things ever is just as the wheel of the plane touches the runway and travelling at 100mph or more…. they get up to get their jacket out the overhead storage!!!!

    • Expat Eye says:

      Oh god yes! You’re spot on there! Nothing can keep them in their seats! The last time I flew the captain kept on saying ‘We haven’t reached our gate yet. Please stay seated.’ Didn’t stop them for a second 😉

  48. lafemmet says:

    Laughing…. no words just laughing

  49. Ray Raymond says:

    Hahahaha I’m in total agreement with you, I have never understood it and as for Prestwick airport, I remember the battle with the wind trying to get to the terminal 😀 and it was a sunny day 😀

Comments are closed.