Can you use your AirPods on a plane?

man wearing beige long sleeves shirt listening to music

With the rise of Bluetooth headphones and phones without headphone jacks, you’re probably going to want to try to listen to your AirPods and AirPods Max on the plane. There are multiple ways to do this, including connecting to the plane’s inflight entertainment system wirelessly.

Is it legal to use Bluetooth on a plane?

It is generally permissible to use Bluetooth devices on airplanes during flight, but the specific rules can vary from airline to airline. Most airlines allow the use of Bluetooth devices above a certain altitude, typically 10,000 feet. Below that altitude, during takeoff and landing, the use of electronic devices may be restricted to ensure they do not interfere with the aircraft’s navigational and communication systems.

The inflight use of Bluetooth devices such as headphones (including AirPods) is usually allowed during the main phase of the flight when the cabin crew has given permission to use electronic devices. Some newer aircraft even have built-in inflight entertainment systems that support Bluetooth connectivity.

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However, always listen to the instructions provided by the flight crew and follow the airline’s specific guidelines for electronic devices. It’s also a good idea to check the airline’s website for the most accurate and up-to-date information before your flight.

As technology and regulations continue to evolve, these guidelines could change. Always make sure to check the most recent guidelines of your specific airline and the aviation authorities in the countries you are flying to and from.

Can you use AirPods on a plane without WiFi?

The biggest question travelers face is how to use their AirPods on a plane without WiFi. If your airplane doesn’t have an entertainment system, you can connect to your phone or tablet as you would normally to watch or listen to midair. AirPods can connect to your devices (like your iPhone, iPad, or MacBook) via Bluetooth, so you don’t need Wi-Fi to use them. Here’s how to connect your AirPods to your iPhone or other device:

  1. Open the lid of your AirPods charging case without removing the AirPods.
  2. Go to the Settings on your device.
  3. Choose “Bluetooth.”
  4. If your Bluetooth is off, switch it on.
  5. You should see the name of your AirPods listed under “My Devices.”
  6. Tap the name of your AirPods, and they should connect.

If your device doesn’t recognize the AirPods, you might need to reset them. Here’s how:

  1. Keep the AirPods in the charging case.
  2. Open the lid of the charging case.
  3. Find the setup button on the back of the charging case, and hold it down for 15 seconds.
  4. The light inside the case should flash white, which indicates that your AirPods are resetting.
  5. After the AirPods have reset, try connecting them to your device again.

Remember to download or prepare any media you want to listen to before you get on the plane, because you won’t have internet access to stream music or podcasts unless you pay for in-flight Wi-Fi. This can include songs, albums, playlists, or podcast episodes on Spotify, Apple Music, or other apps that support offline play. Make sure you’ve downloaded these while you still have Wi-Fi or cellular access, before you get on the plane.

In addition, ensure your device is in Airplane mode but that Bluetooth is switched on during the flight, as per airline guidance.

Can you use AirPods on a plane to watch in-flight TV?

Yes, you can use your AirPods or AirPods Max on a plane. Most in-flight TVs or entertainment systems have a 3.5mm headphone jack. To connect your Bluetooth device to these you’ll need an in-flight Bluetooth adaptor. You can find our recommendations here.

See Also:

Can I use my AirPods Pro on a plane?

Yes, you can use AirPods Pro on a plane. AirPods Pro noise canceling feature is great for long flights and these AirPods connect to any in-flight system via Bluetooth. You’ll need an adapter to listen to music and TV through your AirPods Pro. We personally recommend the AirFly Pro from Twelve South.

The regular AirPods might not be sufficient to use on a plane because they don’t feature noise-canceling technology. We would recommend upgrading to AirPods Pro.

Can I use my AirPods Max on a plane?

Yes, you can use AirPods Max on a plane. AirPods Max noise canceling feature is great for long flights and these AirPods connect to any in-flight system via Bluetooth or a wired cable. You’ll need an adapter to listen to music and TV through your AirPods Pro. We personally recommend the AirFly Pro from Twelve South.

If you would like to connect directly to the in-flight system using a cable, we recommend this basic cable that connects to your device via the Lightning Port. This cable adds a headphone jack to your AirPods Max

Can you use AirPods Pro on a Delta flight?

The Atlanta-headquartered airline, Delta, is testing a built-in inflight entertainment system with Bluetooth wireless technology in their first Airbus A321neo. This aircraft features a high-definition, 13-inch entertainment system capable of Bluetooth pairing.

As a result, passengers aboard this plane can wirelessly pair their AirPods, or any Bluetooth device, to the inflight entertainment system, eliminating the need for cables.

To sync your AirPods to the inflight system, you’ll need to select the Bluetooth icon located in the bottom right corner of the screen, which sets the system into pairing mode. Simultaneously, you’ll need to activate your AirPods’ pairing mode as well. Here’s how:

Press the small white button located on the backside of your AirPods case.

Hold it until the status light begins to blink white.

You can now pair your AirPods and enjoy onboard entertainment to its fullest.

However, be aware that despite the Bluetooth capabilities, AirPod usage is not permitted during takeoff or landing. In aircraft lacking Bluetooth support, a wired connection can be used as an alternative for listening to music or other audio content.

Can you use AirPods Pro on an American Airlines flight?

Indeed, it is possible to use AirPods during a flight with American Airlines. They provide high-quality displays at each seat, and their inflight entertainment systems are Bluetooth-compatible. Consequently, passengers can pair their AirPods with the inflight system, allowing for wireless entertainment en route to the final destination, without the need for a wired connection.

Among the aircraft equipped with Bluetooth-enabled inflight entertainment are the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner jets and the newly introduced Airbus A321XLR. Through a strategic collaboration with Thales, American Airlines has ensured that each seat in these planes comes with a Bluetooth-supportive seat-back screen.

Can you use AirPods on a British Airways flight?

Indeed, British Airways allows passengers to use AirPods during their flights. You can pair your AirPods with your personal device or the aircraft’s onboard entertainment system. Nevertheless, passengers are requested to remove their AirPods during the flight crew’s safety briefings.

While it is completely acceptable and secure to use your AirPods and the onboard entertainment system while airborne, British Airways advises against their use during the plane’s ascent and descent phases.

John Biggs

John Biggs is an entrepreneur, consultant, writer, and maker. He spent fifteen years as an editor for Gizmodo, CrunchGear, and TechCrunch and has a deep background in hardware startups, 3D printing, and blockchain. His work has appeared in Men’s Health, Wired, and the New York Times.

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