Whether watching a movie, listening to music, or just trying to block out noise, many people wear Bluetooth headphones when traveling on a plane.
Passengers can use Apple AirPods (and other wireless earbuds) on most flights as long as their device is in airplane mode and cellular data is off. Every airline has different rules, but the flight crew will let you know what’s allowed. Some aircraft have Bluetooth-enabled in-flight entertainment and in-seat charging; however, this isn’t guaranteed on all flights.
Keep reading for more information about using AirPods on a plane, including whether you can charge them, connect to in-flight entertainment and any rules for packing them.
Can You Use AirPods on a Plane?
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allows air travelers to use Bluetooth devices and short-range Bluetooth accessories (like AirPods or other wireless headphones) as long as their devices aren’t sending or receiving cellular signals.
Before takeoff, the flight crew will remind passengers to put their devices in airplane or flight mode. If you’re streaming music or videos, your connection will be interrupted until you can access onboard wifi.
Airplane mode is mandatory on all flights within US airspace as the FAA has concerns about cellular signals interfering with essential aircraft communication and navigation equipment.
However, Bluetooth signals aren’t known to disrupt essential equipment, so once you’ve turned on flight mode, you can manually enable Bluetooth and reconnect your AirPods.
Just note that every airline has different rules about when you can use headphones of any kind, and some may restrict Bluetooth use until after takeoff.
If you have questions about using your AirPods during the flight, ask the cabin crew after you board.
Read Also >> Can You Use Wireless Bluetooth Headphones on Planes?
How Do You Connect AirPods While in Airplane Mode?
When you put a device in airplane mode, it disconnects cellular functions as well as Bluetooth and wifi.
You can, however, manually enable both wifi and Bluetooth after your device is in flight mode.
On Apple products, you can reconnect Bluetooth (and wifi) through the Control Center or via Settings.
If you happen to be pairing your AirPods with an Android device, you can toggle Bluetooth in Settings.
Read Also >> What Happens If You Don’t Turn On Airplane Mode?
Can You Use AirPods With In-Flight Entertainment Systems?
Airlines often still rely on wired headphones for their in-flight entertainment systems.
That said, there are ways to use AirPods for in-flight entertainment, depending on the aircraft.
If you’re lucky, your flight may offer Bluetooth-capable entertainment, which makes the process simple, and you’ll just have to connect your AirPods using the touch screen provided.
Most flights, however, use a wired connection, so you will need a Bluetooth adapter that works on planes.
You can find Bluetooth adapters online, but confirm whether the airline uses dual or single plugs in their headphone jacks.
The other thing to note is that while adapters seem like a great idea, they don’t always work perfectly, so read customer reviews before purchasing anything.
Some airlines have apps you can download on your device to stream entertainment.
In that case, you can use your AirPods with your laptop, tablet, or phone like normal.
You’ll likely have to download the app before boarding, and this streaming option may come with an extra charge.
The technology for using AirPods or other wireless headphones with in-flight entertainment is still relatively new, so it’s a good idea to bring wired earbuds or use the ones provided by the airline.
Can You Charge AirPods on a Plane?
Whether you can charge your AirPods (or any device) on a plane depends on the airline.
Some carriers offer power outlets or USB ports for charging, but most low-cost airlines do not.
Whether you can charge your AirPods also depends on the aircraft itself – some only have power options for certain rows or flight classes.
When you book your flight, most airlines tell you what kind of plane you’ll be flying on and whether the aircraft has charging ports onboard.
If you can’t tell based on your flight confirmation, contact the airline or ensure your devices are fully charged before boarding the flight.
Read Also >> How Long Does It Take To Board A Plane?
Are There Rules for Packing AirPods?
The TSA has a lot of rules about what can be in your checked or carry-on bags.
Luckily, there are no specific regulations about packing AirPods and other wireless headphones in your carry-on or checked luggage.
Generally speaking, however, it’s better to bring all electronic devices in your carry-on – you won’t be without them if your luggage goes missing, and theft is an unfortunate reality of traveling with checked bags.
You won’t need to remove AirPods from your luggage as you go through security, but you likely shouldn’t wear them while speaking to the TSA.
The FAA permits passengers to use AirPods on a plane as long as the device they’re connected to is in airplane mode.
Once you’ve enabled flight mode, you can manually reconnect Bluetooth and use your AirPods normally, but you can’t stream music or videos unless the aircraft has wifi.
Many airlines offer in-flight entertainment; however, it’s hit or miss as to whether you can connect your AirPods to the system.
You can buy a Bluetooth adapter that fits in the plane’s headphone jack or download the airline’s app and access the service there (if available).
Some airlines have in-seat charging ports; however, it’s better if your devices are fully charged before boarding – not all flights have charging stations, and sometimes they don’t even work.
It’s best to bring AirPods in your carry-on, but the TSA doesn’t mind if you pack them in a checked bag.