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Do AirPods work on a plane?

And more importantly, can you use them?

apple airpods in hand
Image: KnowTechie

Quick Answer: Yes, AirPods work on planes, and you can use them during the flight. Airlines treat them no differently than wireless headphones. However, you should be aware of a few limitations.

True wireless earbuds like Apple AirPods are great for work, home, and working out. But what about travel? More specifically, do they work on a plane?

At first thought, it seems obvious. But sometimes, things aren’t as simple as ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ While AirPods might technically work on an airplane, rules can change.

For example, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) rules over device use on aircraft. So what’s the deal with using your AirPods and AirPods Pro on a plane?

So, will AirPods work on a plane?

Short answer: Yes

Yes, your AirPods will work on a plane, and you can use them in the air. Airlines treat them no differently than wireless headphones.

airplane mode on smartphone
Image: KnowTechie

However, you’ll have to enable your phone’s Airplane Mode to disable cellular radio. Then, turn Bluetooth back on. Thankfully, that’ll keep you inside the FAA’s rules.

READ MORE: AirFly connects your wireless headphones to in-flight entertainment systems

If your flight has onboard WiFi, you can connect that too. That’s all because, in 2013, the FAA relaxed its regulations on in-flight device use:

If your air carrier provides Wi-Fi service during flight, you may use those services. You can also continue to use short-range Bluetooth accessories, like wireless keyboards.

Can you use AirPods for phone calls on an airplane?

2nd generation apple airpods on a purple background
Image: KnowTechie

Sadly, no. The only thing you can’t do is make voice calls, even over WiFi, thanks to FCC regulations prohibiting airborne calls from using cell phones.

Do AirPods work with in-flight entertainment?

airfly main
Image: Twelve South

Ah, in-flight entertainment. The best way to snooze through red-eye transatlantic flights. But there’s a problem.

Airlines don’t often give out headphones for free anymore. That’s okay; most of us have earbuds in our pockets, but do your AirPods work on a plane to watch movies?

The answer is yes, but you’ll need an adapter to connect things. We like Twelve South’s AirFly range, which works with in-flight entertainment systems, or the TVs at your local gym.

AirPods work basically anywhere

So the next time you fly, remember that you can use your Apple AirPods in the air, at the terminal, or anywhere gate-to-gate as long as your phone is in Airplane Mode.

Where do you use your AirPods? Carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek. Hardware guy here at KnowTechie, if it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't) I probably have one around here somewhere. My hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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