Most of us know and appreciate the convenience and mobility offered by Bluetooth devices. With no need to worry about wires, Bluetooth is a great way to go when on-the-go. But things get a bit more complicated if you will be flying on a plane. Airlines have rules about the use of electronic devices. However, it may not have occurred to you that using Bluetooth on a plane presents issues of its own.
In this article, we’ll go over how Bluetooth works, whether it’s safe to use Bluetooth headphones on a plane, or whether you should wait until you arrive at your destination. It’s important to understand that every airline has its own rules, so make sure to check those before setting off on your flight.
What are the FAA Rules
Let’s start by specifying the FAA’s rules. Any device brought onto a plane must be kept in airplane mode or has cellular connection disabled. You can still use your device’s WiFi on certain airlines. That is usually only the case if the plane has had a WiFi system installed. Although the FAA did approve Bluetooth devices on airplanes in 2013, each airline has its own policies about Bluetooth.
The reason why airlines have rules when it comes to the electronics passengers bring on board is the concern that use of those electronics in certain ways and in specific conditions could interfere with the plane’s communication and navigation systems. It’s absolutely crucial that pilots are able to have seamless communication with air traffic control. Also, there is worry that the incorrect use of passenger electronic devices could interfere with aircraft instrumentation. There have been studies done that show problems with cockpit controls due to passenger use of electronic devices.
Remember that there are rules about the size of your device. You will need to make specific inquiries to find out the rules of your airline. Some common rules include:
- Devices cannot be any larger than a smartphone when is folded up.
- There are strict rules about the kinds of extra batteries you can bring on-board. It’s prohibited for there to be 100-watt hour, lithium-ion batteries in passenger carry-on luggage.
Distinction between Devices and Use
It’s a bit confusing. Most of the largest airlines in the United states let passengers use their Bluetooth devices for the duration of the flight. However, some of them don’t specifically say whether they allow Bluetooth use in their policies for flyers.
During landing and takeoff, you’re not allowed to use Bluetooth device that connects to your laptop or tablet on a plane. This is why you are required to turn off and put away these types of electronics at the beginning and end of your flight. There are airlines, such as Delta, Southwest, and JetBlue, that allow passengers to use wireless accessories, such as Bluetooth keyboards and headphones, during their flights if the passengers deactivate their cellular service first.
When it comes to international airlines, you will need to check the policies of individual airlines. Air Canada allows Bluetooth headphones or other devices after the plane is up to a minimum of 10,000 feet. You can only use them if you have a removable battery. British Airways does not allow the use of any Bluetooth devices during landing, takeoff, or taxing, but they do allow it during the rest of the flight.
It’s up to you to be aware of the airline’s rules and to comply with them.
Remember that Cellular Data Use is Always Forbidden
When using your Bluetooth device at the times you’re allowed, don’t lose sight of the fact that you still cannot use cellular data. You must set all your devices to airplane mode. If you find that you cannot connect to Bluetooth after you’ve gone to airplane mode, try manually switching off cellular service.
Information on Airplane Mode
When you put your device into Airplane (or Flight) Mode, all your connections immediately turn off. This should include Bluetooth. Some devices let you manually turn on Bluetooth or WiFi after you’ve gone into Airplane mode.
Other Information to Keep in Mind About Bluetooth on Flights
If you’re thinking about bringing Bluetooth headphones on your flight, be aware that there may be some limitations in being able to fully access the plane’s entertainment system.
Again, it’s important to make inquiries about your specific airline and flight.
Many people stick with the headphones that are usually available on flights for you to purchase. These are sometimes not very good quality, though.
Noise-Cancelling Headphones May Not be Allowed on Your Flight
Some airlines and flights do not allow their passengers to use noise-canceling headphones. Many airlines do allow them, but you’ll want to keep certain safety facts in mind.
Noise-canceling headphones can be dangerous on planes because you can’t hear announcements made by the captain and flight attendants. If you fall asleep, you could be at serious risk.
Also remember to be considerate of the people sitting next to you when using headphones. If your blast your music at too high a volume, your neighbors are sure to hear it too. This can be extremely annoying if all you want is a nap!
It’s Important to Understand the Rules About Electronic Device Use on Airplanes
You owe it to your own safety and well-being, as well as that of all the other passengers on the plane, to know the rules for operating electronic devices, including Bluetooth.
The minor inconvenience of taking a short break from listening to music or catching up with work is more than worth it.