Wondering if you can use Bluetooth on a plane?

I’ve been there too.

That’s why I’ve put together this blog post – to clear up the confusion.

We’ll cover airline rules, the necessity of airplane mode, the specifics of using Bluetooth headphones, and answer some frequently asked questions.

Let’s dive in!

Airline Rules For Using Bluetooth During The Flight

The general answer to whether you can use Bluetooth during a flight is YES. You can use Bluetooth on a plane.

However, some airlines may ask you to turn off your Bluetooth devices during takeoffs and landings.

To understand why this might be the case, it’s crucial to understand the concept of Airplane mode and how it relates to the use of Bluetooth.

Why You Need To Turn On Airplane Mode

Cellular signals, particularly those sent during takeoff and landing, could potentially interfere with with the aircraft’s navigation and communication systems.

These systems operate on specific radio frequencies, and while they are designed to ignore signals outside of their designated frequencies, a strong signal on a nearby frequency can still cause interference.

This interference can manifest in a variety of ways, from minor disruptions in communication to more significant issues with navigation systems.

While the risk is generally low, the consequences of such interference could be serious, particularly during critical phases of flight like takeoff and landing.

That’s why airlines ask passengers to turn on airplane mode, which disables the cellular, Wi-Fi However, once in airplane mode, you can usually manually turn Bluetooth and Wi-Fi back on if needed.

Why Can You Use Bluetooth but Need To Turn On Airplane Mode?

Bluetooth is generally considered safe to use during flights because it operates at a very low power level and on a frequency that is unlikely to interfere with aircraft systems.

Bluetooth technology operates in the 2.4 GHz frequency band, which is a globally available frequency band for industrial, scientific, and medical devices.

It’s designed to be a short-range communication method, typically up to 30 feet, which reduces its potential to cause interference with other systems.

Moreover, Bluetooth uses a technology called frequency hopping spread spectrum, which means it rapidly switches frequencies within the 2.4 GHz band. This further reduces the potential for sustained interference with any single frequency.

However, this understanding is largely theoretical. Empirical evidence is limited, and there’s always a small chance of interference, particularly with older aircraft systems that may have less shielding against such signals.

This is why some airlines may ask you to turn off Bluetooth devices during critical phases of flight like takeoff and landing.

In contrast, cellular signals operate at higher power levels and on frequencies that are more likely to cause potential interference, which is why airplane mode is necessary.

Once airplane mode is enabled, disabling cellular signals, you can manually turn Bluetooth back on for use during the flight.

So, Can You Use Bluetooth Headphones on a Plane?

Yes, you can. But again, some airlines may ask you to turn them off during takeoffs and landings.

How To Use Bluetooth Headphones On A Plane

Here’s how you can make the most of your audio experience in the air:

  • Switch to Airplane Mode: As you prepare for takeoff, ensure your device is in airplane mode. This disables cellular services, but Bluetooth remains active (or you can turn it on manually.
  • Pair Your Headphones: Activate your Bluetooth headphones and establish a connection with your device.
  • Enjoy Your Audio: With everything set, you’re ready to dive into your favorite music, podcasts, or movies. Keep the volume at a level where you can still hear any in-flight announcements.

Troubleshooting Bluetooth Connections On A Plane

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your Bluetooth device might not connect as expected. Here are some common troubleshooting tips:

  • Check Whether Bluetooth Is Enabled: It might sound obvious, but make sure Bluetooth is turned on both on your device and the device you’re trying to connect to.
  • Ensure Devices Are Discoverable: Both devices need to be in discoverable mode to connect.
  • Try Restarting Devices: If you’re having trouble, try turning off both devices, then turn them back on and try connecting again.
  • Update Your Devices: Make sure both devices have the latest software updates. Sometimes, connectivity issues can be resolved with an update.
  • Forget And Re-Pair: If you’ve previously connected your devices but are now having trouble, try forgetting the device in your Bluetooth settings and then re-pairing.

When To Refrain From Using Bluetooth Headphones On A Plane

During takeoff and landing, it’s crucial to be fully aware of the crew’s instructions.

If asked to stow away electronic devices, please do so promptly.

Remember, safety is paramount!

Note On Specific Airline Policies

While researching for this post, we came across various sources that provided specific rules for using Bluetooth on different airlines.

However, upon checking the official websites of these airlines, we found that they often do not provide specific guidelines about using Bluetooth technology during flights.


Can I use AirPods on a plane?

Yes, AirPods use Bluetooth technology, and you can use them on a plane following the same guidelines as other Bluetooth devices.

Does airplane mode turn off Bluetooth?

When you enable airplane mode, it turns off all wireless functions of your device. However, you can manually turn Bluetooth back on after enabling airplane mode.

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About the Author


Content Manager & Editor

Maria became location independent in 2016 when she quit her job and became self-employed. She is currently traveling around Spain while working on her own projects. Email her at maria @ lifestyletraveler.co

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