Can You Use Wireless Bluetooth Headphones on Planes?

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Most people think that Bluetooth devices are heavily regulated on planes. That’s because airlines ask you to set your devices to Airplane Mode during the flight to limit interference with the aircraft communication systems. And since Bluetooth is another type of connection, it could also interfere.

It turns out that Bluetooth actually is pretty harmless. It can pose a risk to older aircraft models, which is why Bluetooth devices are still regulated on some airlines, but for the most part, it’s harmless. All newer aircraft are built to handle the use of Bluetooth devices.

You’re Allowed to Use Bluetooth Devices on Planes (For the Most Part)

Most commonly, you’ll be allowed to use Bluetooth headphones and other Bluetooth devices during the flight, except for the security briefing, take-off, landing, and any turbulence.

However, the rules vary a lot between different airlines. Between all the popular airlines, only Air France and Air Canada (on flights without WiFi) don’t allow using Bluetooth devices during the flight. Other ones, like Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and Wizz Air allow using Bluetooth devices during all stages of the flight, even take-off, and landing. You’ll find out the specific rules for 22 popular airlines further down in this article.

There aren’t any restrictions from airline regulators that would limit the use of Bluetooth devices during the flight. They only limit cellular connections, which may interfere with the airline hardware, so they ask passengers to switch their devices to Airplane Mode, which blocks calls and mobile data.

FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), which is the main airline regulator in the US, actually loosened the limits for small electronic devices back in 2013. Now they allow using small devices in Airplane Mode (even ones with Bluetooth connections turned on) during take-off and landing.

Bluetooth Will Continue Working With Most Devices in Airplane Mode

Airplane Mode only blocks cellular connections and WiFi, which connect your phone to nearby cellular towers or routers. This includes calls, mobile data, and WiFi, but not Bluetooth. That’s because Bluetooth is a completely different connection, with a much shorter range.

Some older phones, laptops, and other devices may disable Bluetooth by turning on Airplane mode. However, virtually all modern devices, including most Android and Apple devices and most laptops, will keep Bluetooth on while the device is switched to Airplane Mode.

To test if your device supports using Bluetooth in Airplane Mode, first turn on Airplane Mode, and then try turning on Bluetooth.

How to Use Bluetooth Headphones on a Plane to Watch In-Flight Entertainment

A 3-prong audio jack for headphones on an airplane seat for in-flight entertainment system

The problem with most airlines is that they update their aircraft somewhat rarely, and the devices that you’ll find onboard are most likely 10-40 years old. Furthermore, Each airline has a different fleet of aircraft, and each one designs its entertainment systems differently. Most aircraft entertainment systems today use a 2-prong audio jack (or even a 3-prong on a few, rare occasions), instead of the typical, single-pin, 3.5mm audio jack, and they aren’t compatible with Bluetooth devices.

However, there’s a workaround for this. You can purchase a universal headphone Bluetooth adapter, which will let you connect your Bluetooth headphones to the built-in entertainment systems. For example, you could use the Sudio Flyg Bluetooth Transmitter, which supports 1-prong and 2-prong audio jack connections (which covers most aircraft models today). You simply need to plug it in, pair it with your Bluetooth Headphones, and start listening to the built-in entertainment systems.

Read Next: How to Watch Netflix on a Plane (Guide)

Airline Rules for Using Bluetooth Headphones and Connecting to In-Flight Entertainment

Down below, we compiled a list of the most popular airlines and their rules for using Bluetooth headphones during the flight. We also researched whether each of these airlines has a built-in entertainment system, whether it supports connecting to Bluetooth Headphones, and whether they have an app that would let you watch movies on your own device using your own Bluetooth Headphones.

Airline name Bluetooth Headphone Use Built-In Entertainment Entertainment App
Air Canada Allowed above 10000 ft altitude and on flights that support Wi-Fi Not compatible with Bluetooth headphones Doesn’t have an app
Air France Not allowed Not compatible with Bluetooth headphones Doesn’t have an app
Alaska Airlines Allowed above 10000 ft altitude Not compatible with Bluetooth headphones No app, but entertainment can be accessed through WiFi
American Airlines Allowed, except for takeoff and landing Compatible with Bluetooth headphones on some aircraft Has an entertainment app for Android and Apple devices
British Airways Allowed, except for takeoff and landing Not compatible with Bluetooth headphones Doesn’t have an app
Delta Air Lines Allowed, except for takeoff and landing Compatible with Bluetooth headphones on some aircraft Doesn’t have an app
easyJet Allowed, except for takeoff and landing No in-flight entertainment Doesn’t have an app
Emirates Allowed, except for takeoff and landing Compatible with Bluetooth headphones on some aircraft Doesn’t have an app
Hawaiian Airlines Allowed above 10000 ft altitude Not compatible with Bluetooth headphones Has an entertainment app for Android and Apple devices
JetBlue Allowed, except for takeoff and landing Not compatible with Bluetooth headphones Doesn’t have an app
KLM Allowed, except for takeoff and landing Not compatible with Bluetooth headphones Doesn’t have an app
Lufthansa Allowed during all stages of the flight Not compatible with Bluetooth headphones Has an entertainment app, but only works as a remote for the built-in screen
Qantas Allowed, except for takeoff and landing Not compatible with Bluetooth headphones Has an entertainment app for Android and Apple devices
Qatar Airways Allowed during all stages of the flight Compatible with Bluetooth headphones on some aircraft Has an entertainment app, but only lets you watch trailers before the flight
Ryanair Allowed, except for takeoff and landing No in-flight entertainment Doesn’t have an app
Southwest Airlines Allowed during all stages of the flight No built-in entertainment Doesn’t have an app, but the entertainment portal can be accessed through free WiFi
Spirit Airlines Allowed during all stages of the flight No in-flight entertainment Doesn’t have an app
Turkish Airlines Allowed, except for takeoff and landing Not compatible with Bluetooth headphones Has an entertainment app, but only works as a remote for the built-in screen
United Airlines Allowed, except for takeoff and landing Not compatible with Bluetooth headphones Has an entertainment app for Android and Apple devices
Virgin Atlantic Allowed, except for takeoff and landing Not compatible with Bluetooth headphones Doesn’t have an app
WestJet Allowed, except for takeoff and landing No built-in entertainment Has an entertainment app for Android and Apple devices
Wizz Air Allowed during all stages of the flight No in-flight entertainment Doesn’t have an app

Air Canada Bluetooth Headphone Restrictions

The rules for using Bluetooth headphones on Air Canada flights, and their in-flight entertainment Bluetooth compatability

The use of Bluetooth headphones is only allowed above 10 000 ft altitude, and only on flights that support WiFi connectivity. Also, you can’t connect to Air Canada’s in-flight entertainment systems with your own Bluetooth headphones. Passengers can purchase headsets at a low cost or use their own wired headphones. Air Canada doesn’t have an in-flight entertainment app, so you can’t watch it from your own device.

Air France Bluetooth Headphone Restrictions

The rules for using Bluetooth headphones on Air France flights, and their in-flight entertainment Bluetooth compatability

Since 2017, Bluetooth headphones are not allowed on Air France flights, and you won’t be able to connect to their in-flight entertainment systems. All passengers are handed out free headsets to watch movies on the in-flight entertainment screens. They do offer an in-flight entertainment app for your device, but it only has a selection of magazines to read, and no movies or tv shows.

Alaska Airlines Bluetooth Headphone Restrictions

The rules for using Bluetooth headphones on Alaska Airlines flights, and their in-flight entertainment Bluetooth compatability

Bluetooth Headphones are allowed to use on all flights, but only above 10 000 ft altitude. Their in-flight entertainment systems don’t support Bluetooth. However, you can connect your own headphones with an audio jack, or connect to their in-flight WiFi, and access their entertainment system from your own device through a web browser.

American Airlines Bluetooth Headphone Restrictions

The rules for using Bluetooth headphones on American Airlines flights, and their in-flight entertainment Bluetooth compatability

Passengers can use Bluetooth headphones during the flight, except for takeoff and landing. A few of their aircraft offer Bluetooth connectivity for in-flight entertainment systems, but most offer streaming only through wired audio jacks. On flights that support WiFi, you can also access their in-flight entertainment system through your own devices by downloading the AA app.

British Airways Bluetooth Headphone Restrictions

The rules for using Bluetooth headphones on British Airways flights, and their in-flight entertainment Bluetooth compatability

Using Bluetooth headphones is allowed during the flight, but not during takeoff and landing. Also, their in-flight entertainment systems aren’t compatible with Bluetooth headphones. And lastly, British Airways doesn’t offer an entertainment app, so you can’t stream it from your own device.

Delta Air Lines Bluetooth Headphone Restrictions

The rules for using Bluetooth headphones on Delta Air Lines flights, and their in-flight entertainment Bluetooth compatability

You can use Bluetooth headphones while on the flight, except for the critical stages of the flight. Delta is rolling out Bluetooth compatibility for their in-flight entertainment, but it’s still available only on some flights. On most flights, you’ll have to use plug-in headphones. Unfortunately, Delta doesn’t offer an in-flight entertainment app, so you can’t watch it with Bluetooth headphones from your own device.

EasyJet Bluetooth Headphone Restrictions

The rules for using Bluetooth headphones on EasyJet flights, and their in-flight entertainment Bluetooth compatability

Bluetooth Headphones can be used on the flight, but not during take-off and landing. At the moment, EasyJet doesn’t provide any in-flight entertainment.

Emirates Bluetooth Headphone Restrictions

The rules for using Bluetooth headphones on Emirates flights, and their in-flight entertainment Bluetooth compatability

You’re allowed to use Bluetooth headphones, but they must be stowed away during take-off, landing, and the safety briefing. On their Airbus A380 aircraft, the in-flight entertainment systems support Bluetooth connectivity. Other aircraft support only wired headphones, and Emirates doesn’t allow you to access their entertainment portal “Ice” through your own device.

Hawaiian Airlines Bluetooth Headphone Restrictions

The rules for using Bluetooth headphones on Hawaiian Airlines flights, and their in-flight entertainment Bluetooth compatability

Bluetooth headphones are allowed to use, but not below 10 000 ft altitude. Their in-flight entertainment systems aren’t compatible with Bluetooth headphones. On their A321neo aircraft, you’ll be able to access the in-flight entertainment portal from your own phone or tablet, by downloading the Hawaiian Airlines App.

JetBlue Bluetooth Headphone Restrictions

The rules for using Bluetooth headphones on JetBlue flights, and their in-flight entertainment Bluetooth compatability

Bluetooth headphones can be used on JetBlue flights, but not during takeoff and landing. JetBlue’s inflight entertainment does not support Bluetooth connectivity and the only way to listen to it is to use wired headphones. JetBlue doesn’t offer entertainment on their mobile app – it’s only meant for managing bookings.

KLM Bluetooth Headphone Restrictions

The rules for using Bluetooth headphones on KLM flights, and their in-flight entertainment Bluetooth compatability

Until recently, KLM didn’t allow using Bluetooth headphones during the flight, but now you can freely use Bluetooth headphones on their flights, but not during take-off and landing. Their inflight entertainment can only be used with wired headphones, and they don’t offer an app for accessing it from your own device.

Lufthansa Bluetooth Headphone Restrictions

The rules for using Bluetooth headphones on Lufthansa flights, and their in-flight entertainment Bluetooth compatability

Lufthansa allows using Bluetooth headphones during all stages of the flight, even take-off and landing. However, their in-flight entertainment tablets aren’t compatible with Bluetooth devices, so you can listen to them only through wired headphones. They do offer an entertainment app, but it simply works as a remote control for the built-in screen, so you won’t be able to use it with Bluetooth headphones.

Qantas Bluetooth Headphone Restrictions

The rules for using Bluetooth headphones on Qantas flights, and their in-flight entertainment Bluetooth compatability

Bluetooth Headphones are allowed to use during the flight, but not during take-off and landing. Their in-flight entertainment system uses plug-in headphones, so it isn’t compatible with Bluetooth headphones. However, they do have an entertainment app, which allows you to access their entertainment portal through your own device and pair it with your wireless headphones.

Qatar Airways Bluetooth Headphone Restrictions

The rules for using Bluetooth headphones on Qatar Airways flights, and their in-flight entertainment Bluetooth compatability

You can use Bluetooth headphones during the flight. Furthermore, on most Qatar Airways flights, you’ll be able to connect your headphones to the in-flight entertainment systems or watch from your own device. They do have an app, called Qatar Airways Oryx One, but it only lets you watch trailers before the flight, so it isn’t too useful.

Ryanair Bluetooth Headphone Restrictions

The rules for using Bluetooth headphones on Ryanair flights, and their in-flight entertainment Bluetooth compatability

Bluetooth headphones can be used during the flight, except for taxi, takeoff, and landing. Ryanair doesn’t offer built-in in-flight entertainment or an entertainment app.

Southwest Airlines Bluetooth Headphone Restrictions

The rules for using Bluetooth headphones on Southwest Airlines flights, and their in-flight entertainment Bluetooth compatability

Southwest Airlines allows passengers to use Bluetooth headphones during all stages of the flight. They don’t have built-in in-flight entertainment, but you can access their entertainment portal through your device and watch movies with Bluetooth headphones from there. You don’t need to purchase additional WiFi, as it’s included in the fare price.

Spirit Airlines Bluetooth Headphone Restrictions

The rules for using Bluetooth headphones on Spirit Airlines flights, and their in-flight entertainment Bluetooth compatability

You can use Bluetooth headphones on Spirit airlines flights during all stages of the flight, including take-off, taxi, and landing. However, they do not offer any in-flight entertainment systems or apps.

Turkish Airlines Bluetooth Headphone Restrictions

The rules for using Bluetooth headphones on Turkish Airlines flights, and their in-flight entertainment Bluetooth compatability

Bluetooth headphones are allowed on Turkish Airlines flights, except for takeoff and landing. Unfortunately, Turkish Airlines’ in-flight entertainment systems don’t support Bluetooth headphones. They do have an entertainment app, but it essentially only works as a remote for the built-in screen.

United Airlines Bluetooth Headphone Restrictions

The rules for using Bluetooth headphones on United Airlines flights, and their in-flight entertainment Bluetooth compatability

On United Airlines flights, passengers can use Bluetooth headphones, but not during take-off and landing. On some flights with newer aircraft, their in-flight entertainment systems support Bluetooth headphones, but on others, only a typical 3.5mm headphone jack. They also have an entertainment app for Android and Apple devices, which allows you to stream with your own headphones.

Virgin Atlantic Bluetooth Headphone Restrictions

The rules for using Bluetooth headphones on Virgin Atlantic flights, and their in-flight entertainment Bluetooth compatability

Bluetooth headphones can be used on Virgin Atlantic flights, except for takeoff and landing. Their in-flight entertainment systems don’t support Bluetooth connections. Only Virgin Australia has an entertainment app, which isn’t compatible with Virgin Atlantic flights.

WestJet Bluetooth Headphone Restrictions

The rules for using Bluetooth headphones on WestJet flights, and their in-flight entertainment Bluetooth compatability

On flights with WestJet, you can use Bluetooth headphones during the flight, except for takeoff and landing, or when the flight attendants ask you to switch them off. WestJet doesn’t have any built-in in-flight entertainment screens. Instead, they focus on a different model – where the passengers can access in-flight entertainment through their own devices, by downloading the WestJet app. This will allow you to connect your device to your own headphones and stream from your own device.

Wizz Air Bluetooth Headphone Restrictions

The rules for using Bluetooth headphones on Wizz Air flights, and their in-flight entertainment Bluetooth compatability

Bluetooth headphones are allowed on board, but you must take them off during the security announcement. Wizz Air doesn’t offer any in-flight entertainment – either through built-in screens, apps, or streaming websites.

Frequently Asked Questions About Using Wireless Headphones on Planes

Can I listen to AirPods and other wireless earbuds on planes?

Yes, you’re allowed to listen to AirPods and other wireless Bluetooth earbuds on most flights. But depending on the airline, you may have to take them off during the security briefing, take-off, landing, and any turbulence (essentially, while the seatbelt sign is turned on).

You’ll also be able to connect your AirPods to the in-flight entertainment systems on some aircraft with American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, and Qatar Airways. When flying with other airlines, you’ll need to purchase an airplane audio jack Bluetooth adapter, or use a pair of wired headphones.

Are all Bluetooth devices allowed on planes (mice, phones, laptops, tablets, etc.)?

All devices that use Bluetooth are usually treated equally on planes. These include wireless mice, laptops, tablets, phones, wireless earbuds, AirPods, wireless headphones, game controllers, smartwatches, and Bluetooth headsets. They can be used but must be switched off during the critical stages of the flight, depending on the airline’s rules.

Why can’t I listen to headphones during takeoff and landing?

Although most flight authorities don’t require it anymore, a lot of airlines still ask passengers to disable all Bluetooth connections during takeoff, landing, and turbulence. That’s because some of them are flying with older aircraft models, which can suffer from minor Bluetooth interruptions in their communication systems. Modern aircraft usually don’t get any disturbances from typical Bluetooth connections, so more and more airlines are allowing passengers to use Bluetooth during all stages of the flight.

Do I have to take out Bluetooth headphones when going through airport security?

Usually, airport security requires passengers to take out any electronics with lithium batteries that are larger than a cell phone, and place them in a separate bin for screening. This includes most Bluetooth headphones but not small Bluetooth Earbuds, which can stay in the bag. They ask this because lithium batteries clutter the x-ray images, so they have to be scanned separately.

Which are the best Bluetooth headphones for travel?

It depends on your needs, but usually, the best Bluetooth headphones for traveling are ones with good noise-canceling features, ones that are comfortable to wear for extended periods, and ones that have a large battery life. One pair that fits all three criteria is the Bose QuietComfort 45 Bluetooth headphones, which have a battery life of 24 hours, excellent noise-canceling features, and are extremely comfortable to wear.

If you can live without the noise-canceling feature, then the next best option would be to purchase a pair of good wireless earbuds, since they’ll take up much less space in your luggage. The Beats Studio Buds are an excellent choice with comfortable wear, a listening time of 8 hours, and another 16 hours of charge time from the charging case.

Can I charge my Bluetooth headphones on planes?

Usually, the best way to charge your Bluetooth headphones on planes is to use a power bank. The Anker 10 000 mAh power bank is small enough to be allowed on most airplanes, yet has a capacity large enough to charge most wireless headphones multiple times.

Some aircraft also have dedicated sockets or USB ports to charge devices directly from the airplane, so a regular charger will do. However, these are usually available only on premium airlines, and they’re somewhat rare, so bringing a power bank is a smarter choice.

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