Can You Use AirPods on a Plane?

Updated on: October 4, 2023

Apple AirPods have emerged as one of the most popular and widely used earbuds for listening to music and hands-free calling. However, many wonder if they can use this sleek and cordless luxury for enjoying music during air travel. 

The electronic gadgets that you can bring on board during a domestic or international flight depend on the airline you’re traveling with or the country’s rules and regulations that you’re departing from; however, there are some standardized rules regarding the use of AirPods and other electronic gadgets on the plane. On my recent flight to Europe, I used my AirPods Pro extensively. I had downloaded a couple of audiobooks and playlists on my iPhone 13 Pro Max. It worked seamlessly. No hitches at all!

Let’s find out if you can enjoy music using your AirPods on the plane.

Can You Use AirPods on a Plane?

Quick Answer: Yes, you can use your AirPods on the plane. However, you must understand the broader rules about using wireless devices during flights. Check the rules and regulations set up by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to know the basic guidelines and rules placed to ensure the safety and integrity of flight.


Take-Off and Landing Restrictions:

If you want to use your AirPods on the plane, you cannot do so during take-off or landing, but only when the plane is in flight. It is because of the take-off and landing restrictions that all the passengers are required to switch off their electronic devices or put them in Airplane mode.

It is done to avoid interference with the plane’s navigation and communication system. 

Airline Policies:

Another thing you must look into to know whether or not you can use AirPods on the plane is airline policies. Different airlines have different policies regarding wireless electronic gadgets in the plane. So, it’s best to familiarize yourself with your airline’s policies to avoid any inconvenience during the flight.

Call Restrictions:

While most airlines allow the use of AirPods during the flight, there are still restrictions about using it for taking calls. The use of mobile phones or AirPods for Voice Calling during the flight is still debatable.

Some Airlines allow these devices to take calls during the flight using the in-flight Wi-Fi connection, whereas others strictly prohibit it. So, to avoid any inconvenience, It’s best to use messaging apps to communicate if possible.

How to Use AirPods on a Plane?

Now that you know about the requirements for bringing and using AirPods on a plane, let’s look at how to use them during a flight. Here are the steps to do so.

  1. Put your phone on airplane mode. You can hop into the control center or via the mobile’s settings. 
  2. Now, turn on the Bluetooth from the device’s settings. The Bluetooth will still work with the Airplane mode on.
  3. Connect your AirPods with the phone or device and start streaming music. 

How to Use AirPods for Inflight Systems?

If you want to use AirPods with the inflight systems, there’s no direct way. The airlines provide 3.5mm audio jack headphones to allow the users to enjoy inflight entertainment. However, if you are dead set on using AirPods with the inflight systems, here’s how you can do it.

  1. Get a Bluetooth Adapter from an online or physical store. It will help you connect to the Inflight system using Bluetooth.
  2. Plug the Bluetooth Adapter into the 3.5mm cable jack of the inflight system. It will allow the adapter to go into pairing mode to connect with your AirPods.
  3. Next, hold the button on the back of your AirPods to set it in pairing mode. 
  4. Wait for a few minutes until it searches and connects with the Bluetooth Adapter, and get ready to enjoy the movies on inflight TV using your AirPods.

Potential User Problems

  1. Battery Life: AirPods, especially if used continuously on long-haul flights, might not last the entire duration of the trip. It’s essential to have them fully charged before boarding.
  2. Connection Drop: Some users have reported occasional Bluetooth dropouts. While rare, it can be frustrating during a flight.
  3. Misplaced AirPods: The compact and wireless nature of AirPods makes them easy to misplace, especially when removing them for things like meal times on planes.


Do I need to disconnect my AirPods during security checks at airports?

No, AirPods are generally considered safe, and you don’t need to remove them during security checks.

Can I charge my AirPods on a plane?

Yes, if your seat has a USB port, you can charge your AirPods using their charging case.

What’s the difference between using AirPods and AirPods Pro on a plane?

The primary difference is the noise cancellation feature present in the AirPods Pro, which can significantly improve the in-flight audio experience by reducing ambient noise.

Can I connect my AirPods to the plane’s in-flight entertainment system directly?

No, AirPods use Bluetooth, and most in-flight entertainment systems don’t support direct Bluetooth connections. However, as mentioned in your article, a Bluetooth adapter can bridge this gap.

Final Thoughts

AirPods have become a basic necessity for many people these days; however, their use during air travel is a bit restricted. You can enjoy music with your AirPods during the flight as long as the airplane mode is on. You can enjoy music and videos and even use non-voice apps like messaging; however, you cannot use the AirPods to make voice calls.

So, before you go ahead and use your AirPods on the flight, ensure you follow the Airline and Federal Aviation Administration rules and regulations.

I’m Shaun Conroy, an audiophile & founder of HiFi Audios. Holding a Bachelor’s in Sound Engineering, I bring deep expertise in audio devices and offer insights & recommendations to fellow enthusiasts.

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