The FAA may have approved the use of Bluetooth devices since 2013, but this doesn’t mean that you can freely use any Bluetooth device during every part of your flight without any restrictions.
Generally, you can use Bluetooth on a plane during the flight, but it must remain switched off for taxi, take-off and landing.
This includes Bluetooth devices such as headphones, phones, keyboards, and mice.
However, airlines may have their own rules about when you can and can’t use Bluetooth during a flight.
Additionally, it’s important to know what Bluetooth devices you can and can’t use, if you can use Bluetooth with in-flight entertainment systems, as well as if it matters if you are flying domestically or internationally.
By Type of Bluetooth Device
- Headphones: You are allowed to use Bluetooth headphones on a plane.
- AirPods: You are allowed to use AirPods on a plane.
- Phones: You are allowed to use your phone’s Bluetooth on a plane, but cellular data should be switched off.
- Laptops: You can bring a laptop on a plane and use its Bluetooth, but your laptop should be in airplane mode.
- Mouse/Keyboard: You are allowed to use Bluetooth mice and keyboards on a plane.
As you can see, you can use all of the above Bluetooth devices on a plane. However, you will generally not be able to use them during taxi, take-off and landing.
When you have enabled airplane mode, Bluetooth will usually be switched off automatically. So, you will have to return to your laptop and phone and manually enable Bluetooth if you want to use Bluetooth on a plane in Airplane Mode.
- Air Canada: Bluetooth is allowed once the plane has reached an altitude of 10,000 feet. However, if the device is powered by a battery, the battery must be removed.
- Alaska Airlines: Bluetooth is allowed throughout the duration of the entire flight.
- Allegiant Airlines: Bluetooth is allowed, but not during take-off and landing.
- American Airlines: Bluetooth is allowed, but not during take-off and landing.
- Delta: Bluetooth is allowed, but not during take-off and landing.
- JetBlue: Bluetooth is allowed throughout the duration of the entire flight.
- Southwest: Bluetooth is allowed, but not during take-off and landing.
- Spirit Airlines: Bluetooth is allowed throughout the duration of the entire flight.
- United Airlines: Bluetooth is allowed throughout the duration of the entire flight.
Domestic vs. International Flights
- FAA: The FAA, which regulates all aspects of civil aviation in the USA, have approved the use of Bluetooth devices, including Bluetooth headphones, on planes since 2013.
- IATA: The IATA (International Air Transport Association), which consists of 290 airlines in over 115 countries, does not allow Bluetooth usage during take-off and landing.
- TCCA: The TCCA (Transport Canada Civil Aviation) state that you should check with the airline to see if Bluetooth is allowed on a plane when flying.
Using Bluetooth With In-Flight Entertainment Systems
If you are planning to use your Bluetooth headphones with the aircraft’s in-flight entertainment system, you are unlikely to be able to.
This isn’t for safety purposes; it’s simply because most in-flight entertainment systems do not have Bluetooth support.
In the USA, currently only United offer passengers the option of using their Bluetooth headphones with their in-flight entertainment systems, though this is only on their Boeing 737 Max 8 planes.
Worldwide, Etihad and Qatar Airways support Bluetooth pairing with their in-flight entertainment systems.
In the coming years, as more airlines update their aircraft and overhaul their in-flight entertainment systems, and also operate newer planes, support for your Bluetooth headphones should become more widespread.
You Will Be Able to Charge Your Bluetooth Headphones on the Plane
If you want to charge your wireless, Bluetooth headphones on a plane, you will only be able to do so on some flights and with some airlines.
This is because only some aircraft are equipped with USB ports.
Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, and United are your best bet if you want to fly on a plane with a USB port.
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