When flying on an airplane, you must turn on airplane mode on your smartphone. Headphones can be used without restrictions. When flight attendants give out their devices, they only do so so that you can connect them to the screen built into the back of your seat. They have 2 plugs, each of which provides sound transmission to the corresponding earpiece.
The use of AirPods on an airplane is legal. In 2013, the US Aviation Administration issued a notice to companies that passengers may use any portable electronic device during the flight. Headphones are one of those.
Of course, airlines have the right to set their own requirements. If somewhere in the world you are required to stop using headphones, you should do it.
Wireless headphones connected to a non-Apple device use Bluetooth for this. When AirPods are paired with Apple devices, a proprietary protocol is used. It reduces connection time. In other words, Apple has its own patented data transfer technology. It allows you to pair devices with each other in 3 seconds, while connecting via bluetooth sometimes takes 5 seconds or more. And it often happens that the connection cannot be established at all the first time.
US Aviation Administration’s decision to expand the use of electronic devices on board aircraft
The first rules for the use of electronic devices on board aircraft were developed back in 1996. Then it turned out that the FM receivers that passengers took with them interfered with the operation of the equipment. Over time, the rules have been added to. Their changes were preceded by tests.
A detailed report on the use of electronic devices on board aircraft was presented in 2013. Then the authorities showed 222 pages of recommendations, which the airlines were forced to read. It was about expanding the use of portable electronic devices without the threat of aircraft operation.
Modern aircraft are different from those that were 60 years ago. Now they are designed so that their equipment is protected from the influence of electronic devices that create interference. It is not surprising that the rules that were relevant before have ceased to be such in our time. Therefore, it was decided to revise and simplify them. Today, flight attendants recommend switching devices to airplane mode, but they do not prohibit the use of headphones.
Learn more about Airplane Mode
Even though the US Aviation Administration has allowed the use of electronic devices on aircraft, the ban on mobile data still exists. This is due to the creation of a long-range signal by telephones, which poses a direct danger to the operation of aircraft electronic devices. During data transfer via Bluetooth or using Apple technology, the signal is different and does not pose a significant danger.
Switching your phone to airplane mode is a requirement that all airlines impose on passengers. Of course, some people do not comply with it, forgetting to turn off the phone. But such cases are isolated, and, as a rule, forgetful citizens remember this during the flight and change the settings. In any case, it is not as dangerous as if the airplane mode had not been turned on by all passengers.
Airline company policies regarding the use of AirPods
There are general rules that everyone follows. But some airlines, in addition to these rules, set their own rules, and this does not contradict the law of the country. As a rule, it is written everywhere that companies have the right to create their own charter and passengers must comply with it.
All US airlines allow the use of wireless headphones during flight. If we take other countries, then everything is more serious here. In many countries this is prohibited and there is no need to argue with it. Everything is done for the safety of passengers and crew members. And this is the most important thing to be guided by in flight.
In the US, wireless headphones are allowed to be connected to a smartphone or laptop at all stages – while taxiing on the airfield, during takeoff and landing. Additional clarifications, if necessary, come from flight attendants.
Can AirPods be paired with aircraft entertainment systems?
The most simple monitors are installed on airplanes, which do not have a data transfer function, but there are exceptions. Therefore, most likely you will not be able to use wireless headphones out of habit. But you always have a choice. The company provides its wired headphones that you can use for free and even take home with you. True, you can listen to audio tracks in them with only one ear – left or right, depending on which plug you plug into the connector. If there is only one plug, then you will not have any problems at all.
If you can’t bear it, buy an adapter through which you can connect to the multimedia system installed on board. On the one hand, it will provide a connection to the monitor, on the other – your wireless headphones.
Today, aircraft with a built-in bluetooth system are being designed and built. One such company is Qatar Airlines.
Passing traffic security with AirPods
To use headphones on board, you need to be allowed to carry them by the transport security staff. In the US, this is allowed in hand luggage, and it is not at all necessary to get them out of the luggage during the inspection. But all devices larger than a mobile phone will be asked to get and present.
So that you do not have any problems during the flight, read the rules of the airline, which are on the website. Once on board, you will also be able to read the brochure, which will help you understand what is possible and what is not.