how to download a movie for the plane

I want to be able to watch movies on my tablet on a plane. From what I can see, a WiFi connection is needed to watch the movie in the air with Netflix and with Google Play. Or am I wrong? Someone please save me from a 10 hour flight of boredom!!! Thank you!

Posted by Randy
Minneapolis, MN, USA
1525 posts

I use program called "Handbrake" which is a free download, to copy my DVD's to a digital format that can be used on any iPod, iPad, or even your laptop. It's fairly simple as techie things go, but still requires a bit of a learning curve. A 2-hour movie consumes about .6 GB of memory space. So 20 movies averaging a little under 2 hours in length consume a little over 10 GB of space. It would be marginally simpler to use iTunes to simply download movies you pay for. If you are not sure how to do this, ask any teenager.

Posted by David
Seattle, WA, USA
1488 posts

I've been using Handbrake to rip DVDs for years. I subscribe to one of the Netflix/Blockbuster DVD services (have switched a couple times). As soon as the DVD arrives in the mail, I pop in in the Mac, rip it to the hard drive. I typically make 2 copies, one with English language closed-caption subtitles (for my wife, who as a non-native English speaker, sometimes wants subtitles), and one "clean" copy for me. Takes about 2 minute of my time and about 15 minutes of computer time in the background. The DVD then goes right back into the mail and the next one comes a few days later. We get to pick from a lot more titles by time-shifting this way, plus as a bonus, we can burn the DVD to rewritable media for viewing at home - with none of the previews and commercials you are forced to watch if you simply play the commercial disc (this is great - on the rare occasion we watch the original, commercial disc, I'm shocked at how annoying it is to not be able to skip through the junk they force you to watch). We never have to see any of that. And, for travels, we can simply transfer the ripped movie file to any of our iPads. We occasionally go to some very remote, off-the-grid places (have a 15-hour flight coming up), and we now take along dozens of movies to watch on long flights or when we're there (if there's nothing better to do). I can't believe I ever watched movies/TV any other way - like having a DVR with the "skip commercials" feature, it's the only way to go!

Posted by Laura
Virginia, USA
3279 posts

You can rent a movie and download it. I rent a movie from ITunes before my flight. Amazon also has movies for rent that can be downloaded. It gets downloaded to my Ipod so I can watch it without internet connection. The rental movies have a time limit. Once you download, you have to watch it within a certain period of time (usually 30 days). Once you start watching, you have 24 or 48 hours to finish it. After the time expires, it is gone.

Posted by terry
44 posts

Often when you buy a new DVD or a new release DVD often they also come with a digital copy you can put on your iPad or kindle etc. plus if you have any favorite DVDs just burn it on your computer, and transfer it..

Posted by Richard
Los Angeles
970 posts

I have downloaded from Amazon to watch movies and TV shows offline on a Samsung Note tablet. Netflix doesn't work in Europe and I don't know about international flights but you may or may not have wifi on the plane anyways.
Something to consider is storage capacity of the device. A 16gb unit (typical iPad) will hold about 6 hours of high def movies. Better to download regular definition to save space or if you have the ability to add storage do so. I recommend a television series and load a bunch of episodes so you can watch some here and there during your trip. TV in Europe is usually not in English and it's nice to have something to watch when you can't sleep at night or are traveling on a train. If going to Italy I recommend the HBO series "Rome".

Posted by Ellen
Centennial, CO, USA
1508 posts

More specific answer to your question. NO, you cannot stream a movie and watch it on the plane....unless you have a wi-fi connection. That could cost some money based on the airline. You need to download the movies BEFORE you go. As others have recommended. And one poster suggested you check with your airline to see what movies are available to watch on board. There are usually LOTS of options, lots of new well as TV shows, music and other things to occupy your time in the seat. Go to the airlines website and search for entertainment. The list the movies on the first day of the month you will travel (with some cross over days end of the prior month) That way you can plan to rent a movie for your tablet. We rent movies from iTunes for my ipad and watch them in our hotel room at night when we are done for the day, before bedtime. I don't use my ipad on the plane for movies, but I do play games on it when I'm bored, or read a book.

Posted by Richard
Los Angeles
970 posts

Amazon Prime to download movies or TV shows to your ipad or tablet. You do not want streaming because you won't be able to watch without a wifi connection. Download to your hard drive so you can watch anytime. I recommend the HBO mini series "Rome".

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
7462 posts

I recommend the HBO mini series "Rome". Rome is indeed a great mini-series, but it's a bit x-rated. Make sure there are no kiddies in close proximity;)

Posted by steve
New York, NY, USA
1 posts

As for ripping DVDs/Blu-ray discs, I would still suggest AppGeeker DVD Ripper. It remembers the last used setting for DVD and BluRay (independently). So if you choose MP4 for one, it will default to that for the next one etc. And assuming you don't want to change anything you can just hit Start. It can also has Apple/Android tablet templates setup already, and take advantage of CUDA should you have a nvidia GPU.

Posted by Christina
New York, NY, 10025
365 posts

Rome is great, but it lasted two seasons, so not a miniseries. Also, I always feel uncomfortable when I end up downloading something that risqué to watch when surrounded by people. Usually I kind of just try to hide my iPad screen from people as I watch.

Posted by Ed
9110 posts

Whoa! Easy there, Chunnel. Don't be attacking our southern heroes. What's next, making fun of Tammy Faye Bakker? Bubba Billy Carter? Huey Long? George Wallace?

Posted by Tara
148 posts

I always just watch the ion of movies available on the plane. I've not been on a plane that has wifi, but every plane I've taken to Europe and back has the TVs with a menu of TV shows and movies. I've also rented from iTunes and can download free from Amazon Prime, but as a previous person said, it takes a ton of space on your iPad or whatever you're using to watch it.

Posted by Lisa
500 posts

Even flights that have wifi don't allow video streaming it just won't work, too much data. You need to get the media on your device in one of the many ways suggested above.