Travel Tech

This Is What You Need to Use Apple AirPods with Airplane Entertainment Systems

a woman in a green shirt
Written by Charlie

Do you want to use your wireless earbuds or Apple AirPods with airplane entertainment units or things like treadmills? This little device is what you need!

Yesterday, Apple pushed out their newest AirPods, the AirPods Pro. These are the first of the popular AirPods to include active noise cancellation – and so far, first impressions are that it is pretty good. But, the question that many want to know is how do you use your AirPods with airplane entertainment units?

This Little Item Will Let You Connect Your AirPods to In-Flight Entertainment

a white device with earphones and credit cards

If you are in an airplane, however, AirPods and other earbuds are not that great to use if you want to watch the in-flight entertainment units. Because the earbuds operate only with Bluetooth and have no plug adapters, you will be stuck if you try to use them for in-flight movies! If you want to avoid that problem, you could always just fly American Airlines as they try more and more to dump those units…

International carriers have been upgrading these units for years so it is not a surprise that many passengers will want to watch something on them during flight. If you have earbuds that you want to use with them – especially the new AirPods Pro with noise cancellation, you are going to need a little device to get going.

One Simple Device and Away You Go!

Link: Twelve South AirFly Transmitter – $34 (this is an affiliate link that supports the site)

There are several devices on the market that do this but, basically, what you need is a Bluetooth adapter/transmitter that will plug into the in-flight headphone jack and then transmit that audio signal via bluetooth to your AirPods or other earbuds. The main reason all in-flight units do not do this already is there would be too much interference with 300-500 bluetooth signals on a wide-body plane. So, you must grab something for the middle ground!

I researched many of these devices and ordered this one for the good reviews and also because it is made by Twelve South, a company that has a lot of quality products for Apple devices.

Just make sure you sync your AirPods with them in the case like the directions say! Otherwise, they will not sync. Check your documentation on syncing with other earbuds to see how to do it.

While it is annoying to have another step to sync your earbuds for in-flight entertainment, it is definitely more preferred by many people to use earbuds over headphones so at least there is a solution!

This will also work with earbuds like the excellent Sony WF-1000XM3 earbuds.

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.