Gadgets

How To Use AirPods on a Plane

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It’s no news that when traveling via plane, there are some electronic devices you’re not allowed to use for safety reasons. And even if you are allowed to carry them, there are certain ways to use them, such as smartphones must be in airplane mode. So, it’s understandable to worry about whether or not AirPods are allowed on planes. The question now is, if allowed, how can you safely use it on a plane? 

Quick Answer

According to a circular from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 2013, you can use portable electronic devices (PEDs), including AirPods, during all phases of most airlines. However, if you want to use AirPods on a plane, you should use the plane’s Wi-Fi network or app or connect a Bluetooth adapter to the AUX port on the plane.   

While the FAA allows the use of PEDs on airplanes, they remain firm on not allowing the use of cellular data. Also, it is ultimately up to the individual airlines to decide what PED device they won’t or will allow.

This article elaborates more on how to use AirPods on a plane. 

Different Methods To Use AirPods on a Plane 

When you want to use AirPods on a plane, you can use them with your iPhone or the airplane’s in-flight entertainment system. So, if the flight is going to be long and you’d like some entertainment, you don’t have to use the crackling headphones the airplane provides; you can use your AirPods to listen to music and watch movies. 

Unfortunately, when on a plane, your smartphone has to be in Airplane Mode, which disables your cellular network, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. So, how, then, can you use AirPods on a plane? 

Method #1: Wi-Fi Network 

When in a plane, your cellular data has to be turned off. But sometimes, the flight may provide you with a Wi-Fi network. Note that your AirPods will connect to your smartphone with or without a Wi-Fi network. But if you want to stream with your smartphone, you need a Wi-Fi network. 

Here’s how to use a Wi-Fi network on a plane.

  1. Put your smartphone on Airplane Mode by scrolling down from your screen’s top right corner and clicking on the airplane icon
  2. Tap on the Bluetooth icon on the same screen and pair your smartphone with the AirPods
  3. Tap on the Wi-Fi icon on the same screen and search for the Wi-Fi network on the plane
  4. Connect to the Wi-Fi network using the password provided to you. 
Quick Tip

Note that some airlines charge additional fees depending on how the network is configured, so do well to ask before using it to avoid unpleasant surprises. 

Method #2: Bluetooth Adapter 

You’d need a Bluetooth adapter if you’d rather not use Wi-Fi on the plane because of the additional cost or want to try the plane’s entertainment system. You’d need a Bluetooth adapter because the plane’s entertainment system doesn’t have Bluetooth. Hence, you wouldn’t be able to connect your AirPods to the AUX port on the plane. However, with a Bluetooth adapter like AirFly, you can connect your AirPods to the device and plug the device into the AUX port on the plane. 

Here’s how to use AirFly on a plane.

  1. Turn on the AirFly device, and it will enter pairing mode automatically. 
  2. Put your AirPods in pairing mode by putting it in the case with the lid opened, and press and hold the button until the light flashes. 
  3. If both devices connect automatically, the light on the AirPods will turn green, and that on the AirFly will be solid white and turn off after 10 seconds.
  4. Plug the AirFly in the AUX port of the airplane and play any music or movie of your choice. 
Fun Fact!

While most planes don’t work with Bluetooth, some airlines in Qatar and the USA are starting to build their planes with Bluetooth capabilities.

Conclusion 

If you always leave your AirPods at home while traveling in a plane to avoid getting into trouble with the TSA, you don’t have to. According to the FAA, you can bring your AirPods on planes and connect them to your iOS device or use a Bluetooth adapter to connect the AirPods to the plane entertainment system. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Does the TSA approve using AirPods? 

Yes, you can carry your AirPods through the Transportation Security Administration in your carry-on bags and the bags you check in. Also, you don’t have to bring your AirPods out of your bags when going through security. However, according to the TSA, you will be asked to remove PEDs larger than a cell phone from your carry-on bags for X-ray screening. 

Can I connect AirPods Pro to multiple devices? 

You can connect the AirPods Pro to two devices simultaneously, provided both are iOS devices. When connecting the AirPods to multiple devices, you can switch between the devices automatically or manually. You can turn off automatic switching by navigating to Settings and Bluetooth connectivity on your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple TV. 

What do I do when my AirPods refuse to pair? 

Sometimes, you might have trouble connecting your AirPods to a device. In such cases, ensure your AirPods are charged and put in pairing mode. If AirPods refuse to pair still, reboot it or restart it. To reset your AirPods, place them in the charging case, close the lid and wait for 30 seconds, then open the lid and try connecting it again.

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