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What's that sound?

I admit I'm a little rusty in the flying department, the last time I did several years ago airlines were in the process of getting rid of all on board entertainment and just allowing you to watch things on your tablet. Now they seem to have gone back to seat back monitors with literally hundreds of entertainment options which is very impressive. However there is one huge problem which you need to think about before you start flying, luckily somewhere on the internet I saw someone mention this. Nowadays all earbuds and headphones seem to be wireless and use Bluetooth, which is damn convenient. But guess what? You can't go wireless on an airplane! Which means that your buds or headphones need to be corded, and obviously you need to arrange that before you get on board because by then it's too late. However if you're in a pinch the plane does stock cute little white earbuds that they will give you to keep. So be sure to check on this before you start packing, luckily the noise canceling headphones that I had recently purchased came with a little cord way down inside their packaging.

Posted by
1134 posts

Air France provides cheap earphones along with the pillow and blanket.
They aren't as wonderful as expensive noise canceling ones but you don't have to carry them around either.
For me, they are adequate for 10 or 11 hours.

Posted by
9548 posts

And make sure the corded ear buds have the round connector.

I was on a tour in October and I knew we would be using the listening devices. I hate the one ear piece system so take my own ear buds. HOWEVER, I had forgotten I'd gotten a new phone since the last tour I took in 2019 and the ear buds for that have the lightning connector instead of the round one that the listening devices use. Yep, got there declined the ear piece and then discovered mine did not fit. Guide was nearby and had a bunch in his pocket so all was well but that was a surprise lesson.

I suppose there is some sort of adapter I can get to make the lightning connector into a round thingamabob. Maybe I'll look next time I go to Staples and add it to my electronics kit.

Posted by
4211 posts

Delta has ear buds. I believe they are offered free on international trips and available for purchase on domestic although on a few occasions I've asked for some and they were given for free.

Posted by
792 posts

Noise canceling headphones are a topic all on their own. I have HUGE over-the-ear cans because they work better for me than in-the-ear buds. Most of the cans on the market come with optional 1/8" TRRS cords (with mic and up/down buttons) in addition to the Bluetooth capabilities but, yeah, you've got look carefully for that accessory in the product description.

Posted by
10984 posts

Actually, on most airlines you can use bluetooth headphones. Just like you can use inflight wifi.

It's cellular service you can't use.

Posted by
616 posts

Actually, on most airlines you can use bluetooth headphones. Just like you can use inflight wifi.
It's cellular service you can't use.

You can use bluetooth to connect to your own devices, but that's not an option for connecting to/listening to a plane's inflight entertainment system.

Posted by
10984 posts

You can use bluetooth to connect to your own devices, but that's not an option for connecting to/listening to a plane's inflight entertainment system

Actually, you can. There are ways to do it. This article explains how:

https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/cool-gadgets/airfly-wireless-transmitter

Since the article was published two years ago, devices have gone down in price.

United Airlines has also started retrofitting their in-flight entertainment systems to be compatible with bluetooth. But it will take until 2025 to modify all of their planes.

Posted by
4595 posts

As others have stated, you can use bluetooth devices on flights. My earbuds are bluetooth and I use them on all flights with no problems.

Posted by
263 posts

What it sounds like is that in order to use your bluetooth devices, the only way to do it, until the airline's technology catches up, is to buy and carry around another device. While I like the wireless aspect, my AirPods are spec-ed at 5 hours of listening time. How are people handling that?

Posted by
31435 posts

Pam,

"I suppose there is some sort of adapter I can get to make the lightning connector into a round thingamabob."

Yes, Apple does indeed have an adapter to convert the Lightning Plug to a standard headphone plug. Of course it's a bit on the pricey side for such a small accessory - https://www.staples.ca/products/2452791-en-apple-lightning-to-35mm-headphone-jack-adapter-mmx62ama . I keep one in my carry on kit but haven't had to use it yet.

Some aircraft that I've travelled on had a double headphone jack like this - https://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/3-Pack-Airline-Airplane-Flight-Adapters-Golden-Plated-3-5mm-Jack-Adapter-Converter-Dual-3-5mm-Male-to-Female-AUX-Audio-for-Headphones/PRD2U687PNI0W8N . I have an adapter for that too, although I haven't had to use it for some time.

Posted by
2417 posts

And just to complicate even further, I flew recently on a Delta 767 that had TWO entertainment systems in place, I guess because of a retrofit along the way. So the video screen is in the seatback in front of you and has a standard mini headphone jack. In the armrest are the OLD audio controls, with volume and channel selectors. And the plug on the armrest is ... wait for it ... the weird old style 2 prong! AND since this was premium economy, they gave us free fullsize headphones to use (which seemed to have some rudimentary form of noise cancellation) that were two prong so they plugged ... wait for it ... only into the armrest! And as noted, in that class on Delta they will give you little white earbuds if you ask.