Did you know that in America, when the plane lands successfully, there are almost claps all the time? (On side note, if the plane fails to land, no one will be able to clap. Hurhur, humor gets dark.)
Anyway, I ask the passenger next to me to get an explanation. They just felt thankful that it’s landed safely or smoothly. “Wow! We don’t really do that in my country,” I added. And he asked, “no claps? then what’s there?”
“I don’t know. Everyone just turns on their phone, or something. Or grab their baggage. Or try to be the first out of the plane.”
Really it’s about expressing appreciation. I think there’s not enough people doing it here in Singapore. The clapping of hands in the plane is probably not even heard by the pilots in the cockpit. I’m certain the passengers weren’t simply clapping to congratulate the pilot for his or her smooth landing. The Americans — at least some are — are just genuinely pleased that they’ve had a safe flight and are showing their unreserved appreciation to the crew in general.
Even if the pilot doesn’t hear it, the crew members might just praise the pilot, adding that there were claps. This form of encouragement goes a long way and it’s ascertains what you are doing is right. Do that more to please others when they deserved it, compliments are free.