You’re planning to fly on an airplane and want to bring your AirPods along for some in-flight entertainment. Using AirPods on a plane is generally allowed, but some airlines only allow the use of Bluetooth devices under specific circumstances.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) determined passenger use of Apple AirPods and other Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) safe during all stages of flight, including take-off and landing. Individual airline companies ultimately decide if and when AirPods are allowed to be used on their planes.
Each airline sets its own rules regarding the use of Bluetooth devices on planes. Some airlines won’t allow passengers to activate Bluetooth signals during take-off and landing, but do allow AirPods above 10,000 feet. Verify with your airline provider which rules apply to your flight.
Rules For Using AirPods On A Plane
Most airline companies allow passengers to use Bluetooth devices (such as wireless headphones) with varying degrees of freedom. In general, turning on Airplane Mode on your iPhone is mandatory. Do this by following these steps:
- Swipe up from the bottom of the screen
- Tap on the Airplane icon
- All wireless connections are now disabled, including Bluetooth
- You may turn on Bluetooth to connect to your AirPods depending on the airline policy
Below you will find the company policies around AirPod usage explained by each individual airline. The overview is alphabetically ordered for your convenience.
According to the Aer Lingus guide to dangerous goods as of January 2022, a wireless Bluetooth device is permitted in carry-on bagage without prior approval from the flight operator. This includes mobile phones and Apple AirPods.
Much like other airlines, the Irish Aer Lingus requests users to turn on Airplane Mode on their mobile devices, after which Bluetooth signals can be manually turned on. This allows you to connect your AirPods to your iPhone.
There is no mention of AirPods or Bluetooth devices on the restricted- and prohibited items list of Aeromexico. AirPods and similar wireless devices can be used in Airplane mode with Bluetooth turned on during the entire Aeromexico flight.
The onboard policy of Alaska Airlines regarding portable electronic devices (PED) states that mobile phones and wireless Bluetooth devices like AirPods can be used during all stages of flight. Phone calls are not allowed during flights, Airplane Mode is mandatory.
According to the policy statement, the following rules apply: “Mobile phone calls may only take place while the boarding door is open at the departure city, and while taxiing to the gate upon arrival. At all other times, phones must be turned off, or placed in airplane/game mode for use as a small personal electronic device.”
In other words, make sure to put your iPhone in Airplane Mode, but feel free to turn on Bluetooth and pair your AirPods to enjoy some music during your flight.
Allegiant Air is one of the few airlines that do not allow the use of mobile phones or AirPods on their planes. In-flight use of electronic devices, even with ‘Airplane Mode’ activated, is not permitted with Allegiant Air.
According to the website of Allegiant Air, Wi-Fi is not available on their flights. This means that your access to in-flight entertainment will be rather limited. Better bring a book.
The rules for using electronics on an Alitalia flight are rather complicated. We will try to break it down for you in the simplest possible terms.
Smartphones and other small electronic devices are allowed to be used on Alitalia flights, but only under certain circumstances. As a rule of thumb, always activate ‘Airplane Mode’ and avoid calls during your flight. You are allowed to activate Bluetooth to connect your iPhone to your AirPods.
Calling is allowed during boarding and taxiing the plane, but not 15 minutes before or after landing and take-off. In case of extended delay, you may use your phone to call people.
Bluetooth devices such as Apple AirPods are only allowed on Wi-Fi-equipped Air Canada flights. The use of smartphones, cellphones, and other small electronic devices is not permitted on Air Canada flights without Wi-Fi on board. Not even with ‘Airplane Mode’ activated.
Users have reported that the in-flight crew on Air Canada airplanes specifically asks passengers to put their AirPods away during the flight.
Air France / KLM
You will find a lot of mixed information online, because the policy has changed over time. Air France-KLM flights permit the use of wireless Bluetooth devices such as AirPods on their flights, as long as ‘Airplane Mode’ is activated on the connected smartphone.
For the in-flight entertainment system, only wired headphones can be used. It is currently not possible to connect your AirPods to the in-flight entertainment system with Air France-KLM flights.
Air New Zealand
The Electronic Equipment Use policy of Air New Zealand limits passengers to a maximum of 15 portable electronic devices. This includes laptops, smartphones, tablets, AirPods, and cameras. Mobile devices must be switched to ‘Airplane Mode’ on the plane until advised after landing.
Passengers are allowed to use Bluetooth on Air New Zealand flights. Activate ‘Airplane Mode’ on your iPhone and turn on ‘Bluetooth’ manually to connect your AirPods to your phone for some in-flight entertainment. Bluetooth signals are allowed to be used during any stage of the flight.
You are allowed to use your cellphone with your Apple AirPods on all American Airlines flights, domestic or international. Electronic devices are allowed by flight crew until advised otherwise.
It is not allowed to make phone calls during your flight. Turn on Airplane Mode on your iPhone during the flight. Manually turn on Bluetooth on your iPhone to connect to your AirPods after the take-off procedure is completed and the plane has enough altitude.
Read more about American Airlines’ connectivity policy here.
On British Airways flights, it is permitted to use wireless portable electronic devices (phones, tablets, AirPods), but only in ‘flight mode’. Wireless Bluetooth devices (such as AirPods) are only allowed to be used during the flight, but must remain switched off for taxi, take-off, and landing.
For more details about using electronic devices on British Airways flights, refer to this official PDF file.
It is allowed to use wireless Bluetooth devices on Delta flights. It is mandatory to put your wireless device on ‘Airplane Mode’ or ‘Flight Mode’ during the whole trip. For Apple AirPods, you’ll have to manually enable Bluetooth again after activating Airplane Mode.
It is possible to connect to the in-flight audio system with your AirPods on Delta flights. To do this, use a Bluetooth adapter and put your AirPods in pairing mode and locate your in-flight entertainment system in the menu of the connected devices on your iPhone.
According to EasyJet policy, users are permitted to use electronic devices (including phones and Bluetooth devices like AirPods) during all parts of a flight. Passengers are obliged to put wireless devices in “flight safe mode” during all stages of flight. This includes the taxi, take-off, flying, and landing stages of the flight.
The in-flight crew will inform passengers when certain electronic devices may be turned on or must be turned off. If you’d like more details about EasyJet policies around portable electronic devices, you can find the official policy page here.
Much like similar airlines, Emirates has a relatively relaxed electronic devices policy. Passengers on Emirates flights are obliged to put wireless devices in ‘Airplane mode’, but Bluetooth signals are permitted during all stages of flight except take-off, landing, and during the safety instructions.
Please refer to the on-board experience guide to learn which items and activities are permitted during which moments during Emirates flights.
Frontier Airlines is a budget airline without in-flight entertainment services. So it’s only natural for people to bring their own entertainment with them on the flight.
Following TSA guidelines, Frontier permits passengers to bring electronic devices like smartphones and Bluetooth headphones (including AirPods). Wireless electronics must be set to ‘safety mode’ during all stages of flight, but Bluetooth devices are generally permitted, unless the in-flight crew requests otherwise.
According to a public statement made by Hawaiian Airlines on their website, passengers are allowed to use small electronic devices such as smartphones and Bluetooth headphones (including AirPods) during all stages of flight. Wireless electronics must have “airplane mode” activated from gate to gate, unless the in-flight crew states otherwise.
These rules apply to regional travel inside the United States. For international flights, there might be more limitations. For more details, read the official statement made by Hawaiian Airlines here.
In the month of March 2021, the rules around the use of small electronic devices on board Japan Airlines changed due to a newly introduced Civil Aeronautics Law. Devices that emit radio waves (e.g. phones) are prohibited from the taxiing phase to the landing phase of the flight.
Wireless electronic devices that do not emit radio waves (e.g. AirPods) can be used during all stages of flight, given that ‘Airplane mode’ is activated at all times during the flight.
Always follow instructions provided by in-flight crew concerning the use of wireless devices. The crew will verbally indicate when and where electronic devices can be used on board under which circumstances.
All details around the use of electronics on board international Japan Airlines flights can be found on this overview page.
The JetBlue Portable Electronic Devices policy states the following: “[electronics] will be allowed on JetBlue aircraft during all phases of flight, including taxi, take off, cruise, and landing except during certain low-visibility landings. Devices must be set to a non-transmitting mode (i.e. airplane mode).”
Among the permitted devices on JetBlue flights are smartphones and wireless Bluetooth headphones (such as AirPods). Make sure to activate a safe flight mode (no transmission) before activating Bluetooth to connect your phone to your AirPods.
A full overview of the regulations can be viewed here on the official JetBlue website.
Much like similar international airlines, Korean Air allows passengers to use wireless electronic devices during all stages of flight, under the strict rule that ‘Airplane Mode’ must be activated at all times. This means that AirPods can be used through their Bluetooth connection, but only when the connected device has ‘Airplane Mode’ turned on.
A full list of prohibited carry-on items on Korean Air flights can be viewed here.
It is permitted to carry small portable electronic devices (e.g. phones, AirPods) on Lufthansa flights under specific circumstances. The use of electronics on Lufthansa flights is allowed during all stages of flight, but ‘Airplane Mode’ must be activated. Bluetooth devices can be connected under these circumstances as well.
There are a few exceptions regarding battery use, you can find the full regulations on this page.
Effective from January 15, 2018, any electronics in carry-on luggage must be turned off completely. Malaysia Airlines does not allow passenger to use WiFi, Bluetooth, or GPS during flights. This means devices such as smartphones and wireless headphones (e.g. AirPods) are not allowed.
Read more about the regulations in this overview on the Malaysia Airlines website.
Just like most European airlines, Norwegian allows passengers to carry portable electronic devices with non-spillable batteries (e.g. smartphones, AirPods) on board their planes during flights. Wireless signals must be switched to ‘Airplane Mode’ from the taxi to landing stages of the flight. It is permitted to use Bluetooth signals.
Read more about restricted items on Norwegian flights in this overview.
Passengers are allowed to use their personal electronic devices on Qantas flights during all stages of flight, as long as these are set to ‘Flight Mode’. Bluetooth signals are permitted, as these generally don’t interfere with onboard electronics. However, calling and texting during flights is not allowed.
Read more about the details of the regulations on the official Qantas website here.
The policy on portable electronics on Qatar Airways flights requires all battery-powered electronics to be turned off in checked luggage.
Using electronic devices on Qatar Airways flights is allowed at altitudes above 10,000 feet, but not during take-off and landing stages of flight. Devices such as smartphones must have ‘Airplane mode’ turned on and must be switched off when requested by the crew. Bluetooth headphones such as AirPods are allowed mid-flight, but only with safe flight mode activated.
To and from The United States, passengers with small electronic devices in carry-on luggage can be part of enhanced screening during check-in procedures. Read more details in this overview.
Electronic devices such as smartphones and wireless Bluetooth headphones (e.g. AirPods) are not on the prohibited item list that Ryanair provides. However, passengers are obligated to activate ‘Airplane mode’ during all stages of flight to avoid interference with the onboard electronics.
Read more about which items are prohibited on Ryanair flights in this overview.
Scandinavian Airlines (SAS)
According to a statement by Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), passengers are allowed to use Bluetooth earphones after takeoff and landing. The crew on board the plane will inform passengers when small electronic devices can be used during the flight.
The regulations around the use of electronics on board SAS planes have been subject to change in the past few years, with conflicting statements made by the airline on social media. So please make sure you are indeed allowed to use a smartphone in Airplane Mode with Bluetooth activated for your AirPods.
Since late 2018, Singapore Airlines has been offering wireless Bluetooth headphones to passengers for their in-flight entertainment system. The airline has implemented a small electronics policy that is similar to most other airlines, allowing the use of smartphones and AirPods as long as safe flight mode is activated.
For a full list of prohibited and restricted items on Singapore Airlines flights, please refer to this overview on baggage restrictions.
Like most American-based airlines, Southwest Airlines allows the use of small electronics under specific circumstances. Passengers on Southwest Airlines are permitted to use Bluetooth headphones (e.g. AirPods) above 10,000 feet during flights. These must be switched off during take-off, landing, and the mandatory safety instructions procedure.
Any connecting phones must not emit signals other than Bluetooth, they must stay in ‘Airplane Mode’ during the entire flight. During flights, you can use the onboard WiFi service and in-flight entertainment system. Read more about entertainment options on Southwest Airlines flights here.
There are separate rules for domestic and international Spirit Airlines flights regarding the use of small electronic devices on board:
- Domestic US flights: Small electronic devices such as tablets, smartphones, and wireless Bluetooth headphones can be used during all stages of flight, including take-off and landing. Passengers on Spirit Airlines flights are required to turn off their cellular network during the entire flight and activate ‘Airplane Mode’, after which Bluetooth signals can be manually activated.
- International flights: Small electronic devices such as tablets, smartphones, and wireless Bluetooth headphones can be used above 10,000 feet only. Spirit Airlines crew will announce when it is safe to use electronics, but the cellular network should be turned off and ‘Airplane Mode’ should be activated at all stages of flight. Bluetooth can be manually activated with ‘Airplane Mode’ turned on.
On all Turkish Airlines flights, passengers are permitted to bring small electronic devices such as their phones or wireless Bluetooth earbuds. If you wish to use Apple Airpods during a Turkish Airlines flight, make sure to activate safe flight mode on your iPhone and manually turn on the Bluetooth connection.
The cabin crew will inform Turkish Airlines passengers when it is safe to use small electronics devices with ‘Airplane Mode’ activated during the flight. Read more about the policy here.
Similar to other US airline companies, United Airlines allows the use of small portable electronic devices on their flights during all stages of flight. The only strict limitation is the obligation to turn off cellular signals for the entire flight and keep phones in ‘Airplane Mode’. The flight attendant will inform passengers when it is safe to use electronics during the flight.
Outside the United States, more limitations apply. International United Airlines flights only allow the use of AirPods and smartphones above 10,000 feet. It is not allowed to use small electronic devices during the take-off and landing stages of flight for international flights.
If you’d like to learn more about the details and nuances of these general rules, this overview will be of help to you.
Virgin America / Virgin Atlantic
The use of small electronics (including smartphones and AirPods) is permitted on Virgin flights, but devices should be turned off during take-off and landing. Cellular networks should be turned off at all times and phones have to stay in ‘Airplane Mode’ for the entire duration of the flight.
Virgin is one of the few airlines that explicitly prohibits the use of Bluetooth headphones during take-off and landing. The cabin crew will inform passengers when and how electronics are permitted to be used on Virgin Flights.
For more details on the policy, please refer to the official Virgin website here.
While this overview covers some of the most popular airline companies on the planet, every airline company employs its own rules around the use of small electronics on board. If the company you’re traveling with is missing from this overview, make sure to contact the airline and ask about the rules.
Most airlines will have a decent FAQ-page with clearly outlined information on their website. But a quick call, Tweet, or email will give you the most up-to-date information. The rules around the use of wireless electronics have changed a lot over the last few years, as airplanes have gotten a lot safer.