Insight Headphones

Can you use Bluetooth headphones on a plane? Possibly.

You just got on an airplane to go to your feel-good city. It’s a 12-hour long flight and you just remember the movies you downloaded from Netflix on your phone. 

bluetooth on plane

The plane is about to take off and as you search for your headphones, you realize you forgot their cord. Bluetooth it is, you think to yourself. Now, as you’re about to turn your phone’s Bluetooth on, curiosity suddenly hits you and makes you wonder.

So, can you use Bluetooth headphones on a plane? Does Bluetooth even work on a plane? Is it legal to use Bluetooth on an airplane? Are you disregarding the safety protocols the air hostess just explained? Will the airplane suddenly crash if you turn your phone’s Bluetooth on? Could you possibly kill everyone aboard by this?

bluetooth on plane

Hey! Relax. We get how overwhelming that can get. That’s why we’ve decided to explain the whole ‘Can you use Bluetooth on a plane?’ phenomena in this article.

Can You Use Bluetooth On A Plane? It Depends.

There are two factors that the question “Can you use Bluetooth on a plane” depends on:

1. The Technical Aspect

You must’ve heard the air hostess advising the passengers to switch off or enable the ‘Airplane Mode’ in all portable electronic devices before the plane takes off. This is because they could possibly distort pilots’ and air traffic controllers’ communications and the plane’s avionics could malfunction as a result of the interference.

Well, we hate to break it to you but wireless interference is a real thing. You’ve probably experienced static during phone calls and the cursor moving wildly on its own when connected to your wireless mouse before, right? Imagine something like that happening except with the plane you’re on and above the ocean or desert. Got chills running down your spine? Yeah, we feel you. And, since Bluetooth comes under portable electronic devices, it, too, can cause such inconsistencies during the flight.

Does This Happen With All Aircraft?

Well. It varies. In their hangars, airlines house a range of aircraft, each with a unique set of mechanical components. Airplanes that were created and constructed prior to the development of smartphones lack efficient shielding to guard against wireless interference. 

The newest and most advanced airplanes, however, have complex shielding since they were designed with cellphones and their accessories in mind. As a result, the construction and design of the aircraft determine how Bluetooth or any other portable electrical gadget will affect it. 

Put simply, an aircraft’s ability to withstand disturbance from such devices increases with the quality of the aircraft’s construction.

2. The Regulatory Aspect

Only portable electronic devices with dimensions comparable to smartphones are permitted on aircraft, according to general principles set forth by regulatory organizations. 

For further clarification, in a press release on the topic of using personal electronics on aircraft, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), which is in charge of regulating civil aviation in the US, made the following statement:

“Devices must be used in airplane mode or with the cellular connection disabled. You may use the WiFi connection on your device if the plane has an installed WiFi system and the airline allows its use.  You can also continue to use short-range Bluetooth accessories, like wireless keyboards.”

– FAA (Federal Aviation Administration)

However, the airline has also been given the authority to create the necessary policy in accordance with each aircraft.

Therefore, to answer your question “can you use Bluetooth on an airplane”, you can, if it’s a short-range device like your Bluetooth headphones. However, it mainly relies on the airline and the country they belong to because each country has its own set of regulations and guidelines. The only condition is that all cellular connections must remain off from the point the plane takes off to the moment it lands.

So, Can You Use Wireless Headphones On A Plane?

The answer is yes. There is a specifically recommended way to do this though.

Source: Apple Stack Exchange

  • Put your device (smart phone, tablet, laptop etc.) into Airplane Mode. This will disable all cellular connection, WiFi and Bluetooth.
  • Then, when needed, you may activate Bluetooth or WiFi. Don’t worry, your phone does not exit flight mode when you turn on Bluetooth.
  • Pair (if you haven’t already) or connect your wireless headphones with your device and enjoy. One thing that is advised is not to put your headphones on while the plane is taking off or landing. This is so that you are attentive in case an emergency arises.

Note: Make sure you don’t put your phone off Airplane Mode until the flight lands. Although it won’t do any massive damage or cause any crashes more than half of the time, there is, of course, still a chance that things can go south.

We hope that clears out your concern of “can you use Bluetooth on a plane” and that you’ve got something else to ponder on your next flight.