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The Best Way to Connect Your Bluetooth Headphones on Any Flight

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Bluetooth headphones are great—until you want to use them to watch movies or TV shows on your flight. Most seat back screens are not Bluetooth-equipped, but there's an easy solution. 

Airlines have lagged behind when it comes to Bluetooth connectivity, especially for economy passengers. While airlines like Delta and United have begun rolling it out on select aircraft, not every plane or cabin has this feature. That's where my favorite travel gadget—Twelve South's AirFly wireless audio transmitter—comes in. 

The AirFly plugs into the headphone jack of the seat back entertainment system and automatically pairs with your wireless Bluetooth headphones. This allows you to use those headphones the way they were intended to be used: wirelessly.

Taking advantage of inflight entertainment is my favorite way to pass the time while in the air, so much so that I'll forgo sleep on some long international flights to watch as many movies as possible and really get my money's worth out of my ticket. Using my own Bluetooth headphones over the low-quality ones the airline provides makes that experience all the better. 

The AirFly is the best way to connect your wireless headphones on a plane. Here's how it works. 

Read next: BevLedge? An ‘OstrichPillow'? We Tried Out 5 of the Weirdest Travel Accessories 


How Does the AirFly Work?

If your seat back entertainment screen on your flight doesn't have Bluetooth connectivity, you'll need a device like Twelve South's AirFly. 

First, you'll need to pair your wireless headphones with the device. Put your headphones into pairing mode and hold down the power button on the AirFly to connect both devices. On future uses, they should automatically connect. 


AirFly pairing


Then plug the AirFly into the headphone jack on your monitor and start watching movies, TV shows, and more. Keep in mind that each airline has a different inflight system, so the audio quality and compatibility of the device may vary. 

The AirFly needs to be charged for it to work. You can easily charge it with a USB-C charger, and a full battery should last about 20 hours – more than enough for even the longest international flight. 


AirFly Plugged In


Thrifty Tip: If your plane is equipped with a plug, you could power your AirFly while using it to watch your movie.

There are a few different versions of the AirFly. We recommend the AirFly Pro, which allows you to connect up to two sets of Bluetooth headphones – perfect if you want to watch a movie with your traveling companion. 


Photo courtesy of Amazon


The slightly more expensive AirFly Pro Deluxe comes with a two-prong adapter, which is useful if you encounter an aircraft that has a two- or three-prong audio jack to ensure you hear audio out of both ears.


AirFly Pro Deluxe wireless audio transmitter
Photo courtesy of Amazon


The AirFly should work with any Bluetooth-enabled headphones. I've used it with my Apple AirPods and Skullcandy Crusher Evo headphones while several of my Thrifty Traveler colleagues have used it with their Bose noise-canceling headphones.  

Twelve South's AirFly products range from $35 to up to $65 depending on which version you opt for. Is this gadget absolutely necessary for your trip? Of course not. But for me, being enjoy quality sound while watching movies on my flight and not have to deal with wires – especially a long-haul international flight – makes it well worth the cost. 


Bottom Line

Wireless headphones are great, but most airplanes lack the Bluetooth connectivity to allow you to use them for inflight entertainment.

The Twelve South AirFly wireless audio transmitter solves that problem, allowing you to connect your Bluetooth headphones to your seat back screen to watch movies, TV shows, and more, without additional wires. It's one of the travel gadgets we recommend the most for your next flight. 

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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