Can you use Bluetooth on a plane? | The Ultimate Guide

The human mind is a curious customer which sometimes brings out questions that might sound absurd but are actually pretty genuine. “Can you use Bluetooth on a plane?” is one such question that I’m sure a lot has had while boarding the flight.

Is it something technical or regulatory? Can it be potentially dangerous? What do pilots and aviation engineers have to say about it? We will break it all down to you in this article on “Can you use Bluetooth on a plane?”

Simply put, there is no straightforward one-liner for “Can you use Bluetooth on a plane”. There is a technical side and there is a regulatory or legal side.

It all varies from airliner to airliner as these companies do not necessarily use the same type of aircraft or have the same regulations. However, there are some things that remain unchanged regardless of which airliner you decide to onboard. In this article on “Can you use Bluetooth on a plane” we will bring in your knowledge everything there is to know about “Can you use Bluetooth on a plane”.

So, the next time you board a flight you have something else to be curious about. So, let’s jump right into it.

Can you use Bluetooth on a plane? The Technical Side

As discussed earlier, there are two sides to it, the technical side and the regulatory one. The technical side has to do with how Bluetooth operates and its influence on the aircraft. Any portable electronic device needs to be in flight mode while traveling on the plane. It is because of the potential distortion they can cause in the communication of pilots and air traffic controllers. Furthermore, the interference can also disturb the electronics on the plane.

This wireless interference is not an alien concept. We have all seen this happening in front of us at least once in our lifetime. The automatic movement of the cursor when the Bluetooth mouse is attached, static in the call, and distortion in the audio system are all examples of interference.

can you use bluetooth on a plane

Now imagine if something like this happens in the plane’s cockpit while you are just above the Atlantic? Scary thought? Isn’t it?

Bluetooth, being a portable electronic device, has the potential to induce these anomalies in the cockpit. But the point is does all the aircraft are affected by it? And if so, does the magnitude of effect remain the same on all aircraft? The straightforward answer is NO.

Airliners have a variety of aircraft in their hangars and the machinery of these aircraft can differ from each other. Those aircraft that were designed and built before the evolution of smartphones do not have effective shields to protect from wireless interference. However, the new and latest aircraft have sophisticated shields as they were designed keeping the smartphones and their accessories in mind.

Thus, the effects of Bluetooth or any other portable electronic device depend on the build and the design of the aircraft. The better an aircraft is built, the more it would resist the interference coming from portable electronic devices.

The technical answer to can you use Bluetooth on a plane seems pretty straightforward and understandable but it is not the case with the regulatory side of things.

Can you use Bluetooth on a plane? The regulatory side

Now that we have gotten the technical part out of the way the question is how the use of portable electronic devices is regulated on the plane. Each country has its own regulations which determine whether or not portable electronic devices should be allowed on planes. However, if we talk about the US and Europe, the regulatory bodies of both restrict PED usage but have not banned it altogether.

As a general rule, only those portable electronic devices are allowed on the plane with sizes the same as smartphones. However, it is not just it. The regulatory bodies have also given some authority to the airliners as well in this regard. Thus, the airliner can devise the policy on the matter according to each aircraft. This is why you might come across different regulations on different planes even if they belong to the same airliners.

So, when it comes to the regulatory side of “can you use Bluetooth on an airplane”, it is quite tricky. It is because every country has its own policies and regulations. So, the answer to “can you use Bluetooth on an airplane” would depend on the airline and country they belong to.

Now we have put it all out the big question is:

Can you use Bluetooth headphones on a airplane?

The answer to “can you use Bluetooth headphones on an airplane” all comes down to the type of plane and the headphones. In general, the airliners would allow you to use Bluetooth headphones as long as they are about the size of smartphones. The earbuds are considered as safe as they do not pose any significant threat to the safety of the plane.

However, when it comes to over the ear headphones you might have to be a little careful. Even if the airliners allow it, it is better to avoid using them as it can affect the machinery of the airplane. So, I would suggest you keep the wired headphones with you to avoid this problem altogether.

We hope this has answered your question about “can I use Bluetooth on a plane”. However, you might also be curious about some other things in the plane like:

Why should headphones not be worn during takeoffs and landings?

Well, the answer to this question is rather simple than “can I use Bluetooth on a plane”. Even the wired headphones are not allowed during take-offs and landing let alone the Bluetooth ones. It is because at these times the flight crew makes important announcements that are necessary for the safety of passengers.

If there is an emergency you should be able to hear the instructions from the crew. Furthermore, the airliners are also worried about the cables that might obstruct the movements in case evacuation is required. Thus, the regulatory bodies and the airliners do not allow the use of headphones or earbuds during these times.

Another important question that deserves to be on this list is:

How important is it to turn off the cellular data on the airplane?

Putting your phones on flight mode is very important while boarding the plane. Bluetooth is a short-range device but the Wi-Fi and cellular data use long-range signals. These signals can produce temporary or permanent dysfunction of the instruments of the plane. This is why the FAA has very strict regulations about it. You can only turn on the phone if it has flight mode, in case it does not, you would have to turn it off or you can get in trouble.

Thus, while the answer of “can we use Bluetooth headphones on a plane” might be yes. It is a big NO when it comes to turning on the cellular data on the airplane. This is why we would recommend you to turn off the smartphones altogether or at least put the phone on flight mode.

So, it is a yes for “can we use Bluetooth headphones on a plane”, the big question is:

In which airliners are Bluetooth headphones allowed on airplanes?

The airliners where you would see the positive response on “are Bluetooth headphones allowed on airplanes” include

  • American Airline
  • Delta
  • United Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Spirit Airlines
  • Air Canada
  • Lufthansa
  • Air France
  • Ryanair
  • British Airways

All of these airlines allow the use of Bluetooth devices onboard. Some of them allow them for the entire flight while some might not permit it during landings and take-offs. Furthermore, some airliners might put forward certain conditions which include

  • The battery of the Bluetooth devices must be removable
  • The use of Bluetooth headphones is only allowed once the airplane reaches a certain altitude.

Conclusion – Can You Use Bluetooth on Airplane

From the discussion above in “can you use Bluetooth on an airplane,” it can be concluded that yes headphones can be used on planes. However, the regulation of the type of headphones and the time of their usage might vary from airliner to airliner.

Besides the regulations, one must also ensure the safety of oneself and the passengers onboard. And thus, the Bluetooth device should not send long-range signals and preferably have a removable battery. We also recommend taking off the headphones during the landings and the takeoffs even if the airliners allow it.

So, folks, this is all that we had on the” can you use Bluetooth on a plane”. We hope this has brought your curiosity to rest. However, if there is any more query on “can you use Bluetooth on a plane”, let us know in the given section. We would love to respond.  Thank you!

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Tabi is a full-time blogger and Digital Marketer. My aim is to teach others so they can become successful entrepreneurs. I share my exclusive knowledge and experience on my Blogs.