Can you bring your own headphones on a plane?
With all the different types of headphones these days, I get this question a lot. The short answer to this question is, usually yes.
According to the TSA website, you can bring your headphones in a carry-on bag or your checked luggage when you fly. And they can be the one accessory that makes the biggest difference in your travel experience as well.
But… depending on when you are reading this article, and where you are traveling, there may be an electronics ban in effect. In the past, these bans have prohibited passengers from traveling with wireless or Bluetooth devices larger than a smartphone. This could prevent you from bringing certain wireless headphones.
It is technically in effect on all UK flights, though most airlines say you can use the headphones during the flight itself. Just don’t use them during taxi, take-off, and landing. As I said, just check with your airline to make sure your headphones are allowed to be carried on board.
Using Bluetooth or Wireless Headphones on an Airplane
Bluetooth headphones have become more and more popular in the last few years for good reason. Everyone seems to be using wireless Bluetooth headphones.
But the question is, can you actually use Bluetooth headphones on a flight? What are the rules?
The official global rule is that you cannot use any wifi or Bluetooth devices that are larger than a smartphone, and must be able to operate on “flight mode” while flying. If there’s a flight mode and you’ve got it switched on, then the device itself is okay.
This is according to the FAA website:
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.
Also, this is according to USA Today:
International airlines have their own rules. British Airways allows passengers to use Bluetooth devices during the flight but not during taxiing, takeoff or landing.
Lufthansa allows travelers to use Bluetooth headphones during the entire flight, even during takeoff and landing.
The best Bluetooth headphones I recommend for your flight are the Bose Quiet Comfort 35. I personally use these, and they are amazing quality and value. It can be really taxing on the body to have all the noise from the plane for your entire flight.
These block that out and allows you to listen to music or movies or games with great quality sound. I love them!
Can You Take Wired Headphones on a Plane?
Yes, you can bring your wired headphones on board with you. Ensure that the wires do not interfere with the aisle and anything or anyone else onboard the plane. Use common sense.
You will most likely be required to remove your headphones during certain phases of the flight like take-off and landing.
Depending on the aircraft you are on and the type of headphones you have, you may require an adapter to fit into the airplane socket. Some airlines will provide these but don’t count on it for sure. I recommend you purchase one before your flight.
Can I Take the Headphones the Airline Gave Me After the Flight?
This is a common question, and the answer is yes and no. For the most part, it will be just fine to take the headphones you were given on the flight with you after the flight. You probably won’t want to though as the quality of these headphones is usually really poor and they often have issues working with other devices. But unless they tell you they will be collecting them, you are welcome to take them with you.
On the other hand, a few airlines will collect the headphones after the flight. They will normally tell you when they distribute them and then come down the aisle with a bag you can deposit them in after the flight. In that case, don’t take them with you. If you are unsure, just ask a flight attendant if it is allowed.
Headphones and Airport Security
Here is another common question that I have been asked many times before. “I am going on holiday, and plan to wear my new headphones at the airport. I am concerned that my headphones will be confiscated, as I don’t have the extra cash to buy a new pair. Do you think they will get confiscated?”
The answer is no. I have been through airport security thousands of times and have never seen a situation where security has confiscated headphones. So, I don’t think you will have anything to worry about there unless you are hiding something in them!
What Other Electronic Devices Can I Use Onboard the Aircraft?
Many other electronic devices are really helpful to have on a long flight. The most common being laptops, tablets, cell phones, and gaming systems. The Transportation Security Administration recommends keeping your personal electronics in your carry-on luggage instead of in your checked luggage.
This will give you quick access and makes your electronics difficult to steal or get damaged. If you do have to put electronics in your checked baggage, secure your bag with a TSA approved luggage lock that allows TSA agents into your bag for screening if necessary but impedes access by others. If you use a non-TSA-approved lock, TSA agents may cut it off as part of the screening process.
I recommend this TSA approved luggage lock on Amazon.
Controversy Surrounding Bluetooth Headphones on Airplanes
Many people think that since Bluetooth wireless technology and other electronic devices that use WiFi send and receive data, then they can interfere with the communication and navigation system of the airplane.
However, it is hard to determine the exact effects, if any, of these devices on planes because many of these devices have different power levels which makes it more difficult to assess what happens when they are in use on a plane.
To be safe, there is a ban on cell phones when they are not put in flight mode along with the use of some wireless devices. Among these devices, you will find wireless Bluetooth earbuds. But again, each airline is different and may have a different stance on this as you will see below.
Airlines and Bluetooth Earbuds
They offer WiFi service to their passengers and allow Bluetooth earbuds on their flights. All devices on these flights also have to be in flight mode for the duration of the trip.
They offer WiFi service and tell passengers that all devices need to be on flight mode. This means that you can watch a movie or listen to music during your flight with wireless headphones. However, you cannot use Bluetooth or any wireless device at all if it is not first put on flight mode.
They also offer their passengers WiFi service, but wireless earbuds can only be used when the plane reaches a height of 10,000 feet in the air. The device must also be equipped with a removable battery. Bluetooth earbuds can only be used on flights that offer the WiFi service.
This is another Canadian airline, but they do not offer WiFi. Therefore, they also do not have any specific guidelines or rules when it comes to wireless Bluetooth earbuds. So, as long as the device is on flight mode, you can enjoy your in-flight entertainment.
For the most part, you will have no issues bringing your personal headphones onboard the airplane with you. Both wired and wireless headphones should be allowed providing you follow the regulations of both the airline and the government policies.
Remember to contact the airline beforehand to confirm your electronics and other carryon items will be allowed. Also, there shouldn’t be any issues with airport security confiscating your headphones. So, you won’t need to worry about that.
On my blog, I cover several topics regarding carry-on items, feel free to browse through the articles.
If you enjoyed our can you bring headphones on a plane guide, have a look at all our travel gear guides here:
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Thanks for reading!
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