You’re allowed to use AirPods on planes, as well as any other Bluetooth earbuds or headphones.
TSA, FAA, and other airline regulators don’t have any specific restrictions for Bluetooth Headphones. In fact, FAA stated that Bluetooth is harmless to airplane hardware systems back in 2013.
The only restriction that comes from airline regulators is that you must switch all your devices to airplane mode. But this doesn’t affect Bluetooth, only data and cellular connections. You will be able to listen to music on your AirPods even if your device is switched to airplane mode.
Some Airlines Ask Passengers to Turn off AirPods During Takeoff and Landing
Some airlines are concerned that you might miss any important information, and they don’t want to be liable in case something bad happens because of this. So unfortunately, they don’t allow you to listen to any kind of headphones during takeoff, landing, and the security announcement.
But because AirPods are barely noticeable, you might get away without turning them off. From my own experience, I’ve never had any problems with using my AirPods during the whole flight, even take-off and landing.
During the critical stages of the flight and the announcement, it’s advised to at least lower the volume of your AirPods. This way you’ll hear if there are any announcements that ask you to turn off Bluetooth devices. And if someone asks you to take them off, don’t argue, because it’s up to each airline to determine whether Bluetooth devices are allowed or not.
There are only a few airlines that openly allow using AirPods during all stages of the flights. These include Jet2, Lufthansa, Qatar Airwars, Singapore Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and WizzAir.
Connecting Your AirPods to In-Flight Entertainment Systems
Unfortunately, most of the time, you won’t be able to listen to the in-flight entertainment systems with your AirPods. That’s because most airplanes support only wired headphones. And it’s still very common to see older audio jacks on them, instead of the typical 3.5mm one.
The only way to connect to in-flight entertainment systems that don’t support Bluetooth is by using a Bluetooth adapter. They work by plugging into the 3.5mm / 2.5 mm / 2 prong / 3 prong audio jack and transmitting the audio to your AirPods. They’re also cheap – costing between 30-60$.
Only United Airlines, Qatar Airways, Lufthansa, Emirates, Delta Airlines, American Airlines, and Air France offer Bluetooth connectivity for their entertainment systems. But it’s only for their most modern airplane models.
Some airlines also offer streaming their entertainment portals through your own device via an app or website. This includes Air Transat, Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Qantas, Southwest Airlines, and WestJet.
Going With AirPods Through Airport Security
The good news is that TSA doesn’t ask you to place your AirPods in a separate bin for screening. They only ask you to do that with electronics larger than a cell phone. So if they’re packed in your baggage, you don’t need to take them out.
But you can’t wear AirPods in your ears while going through the airport scanner because this might trigger the alarm.
Packing AirPods – Checked Baggage vs Carry-on vs Personal Item vs Pocket
There aren’t any packing restrictions for AirPods. But because they’re valuable and easy to lose, you should keep them in your pocket or personal item. Your personal item will always be in front of you on the airplane, so you can keep an eye on it.
We would advise against packing AirPods in your checked luggage because they might get stolen. This is especially important when flying internationally, but it can also happen domestically within the US.
Summing Up: Flying With AirPods
Airpods work on airplanes no different from how they would anywhere else. There also aren’t any important restrictions that ban you from using them.
But when flying with certain airlines, you might be asked to take them off during takeoff. If that happens, follow the instructions, and don’t worry – they’ll allow you to turn them back on after a few minutes when the seatbelt signs are turned off.