Product Review: Airfly Pro Bluetooth Adapter for Airplane IFE

Airfly Pro

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How many times have you been on an airplane and forgot wired headphones?

Ever since Apple AirPods went mainstream it happens to me all the time.

If I’m lucky I end up settling for those cheap headphones airlines pass out that never seem to stay in my ear or have any reasonable sense of sound quality.

I debated keeping a wired pair of headphones in my bag at all times, like I used to, but ever since my last pair broke I never seemed to replace them.

Thankfully Airlines have noticed and we’re in luck – many new In Flight Entertainment systems are coming equipped with bluetooth functionality. This makes it easy to pair any wireless headphone directly to your seat.

The downside is this is only happening on select airline so far and for them to update their entire fleet it will take years.

Thankfully we don’t have to wait. That’s where AirFly Pro, designed by Twelve South, bluetooth adapter comes in designed specifically to wirelesses connect your headphones over bluetooth to airline IFEs.

We’ll break down exactly how to use them and what airlines are currently offering bluetooth in their IFE.

Using AirFly Pro On Flights

AirFly Pro is a bluetooth transmitter and receiver for up to 2 AirPods or wireless headphones at once. It is currently available directly from the seller on Amazon.

The device is compact and can fit any in-flight entertainment, gym equipment, gaming devices, TV’s or 3.5 audio jack.

I’ve used it on several flights now and what I like best about it:

  • It pairs quickly and easily to AirPods after initial setup
  • Batter life of 16+ hours so I don’t need to charge it often
  • Range of 33 feet so you are almost always in range
  • Can be used beyond airplane IFE to almost any device you want a bluetooth output

I recently received mine and had an upcoming economy trip on Delta that I knew would be the perfect time to try it out.

The setup was pretty simple.

  • In order to pair you hold down the main button for a few seconds to enter pairing mode.
  • At this time you also enter pairing mode on your wireless headphones
  • Once the headphones are paired it will remember them next time you plan to use it

As soon as I was paired I boarded my flight and immediately gave it a shot.

Instantly after plugging in the sound transmitted to my AirPods and there was no need for those wired headphones they passed out.

What I also noticed is the sound quality was much better than I expected. Typically the sound I received through wired headphones was pretty soft on airlines but not these. They were at comfortable levels and I didn’t need to max out the volume like usual.

I also recently gave it a try on Singapore Airlines and had the same experience.

What I’ve noticed is that not all airlines pass out wired headphones. While I’m sure they would provide if I asked, this device is a nifty tool to continue using your wireless headphone on any airline.

Airlines With Built In Bluetooth

Now as good as the AirFly Pro is there is a time limit on how relevant they will be. Many airlines such as United, Delta, Etihad and others have started supporting bluetooth connections directly on their IFE.

The downside is this is only on newer planes meaning it will take years before you will see these across the board.

I recently got to try this on an Etihad A350 from New York to Abu Dhabi.

The process onboard was pretty simple and self explanatory. Simply go to the settings page on the IFE and select Pair Headphone and it will detect those around you.

Since this is starting to become popularized I started checking the settings screens of all planes I fly. Sometimes I am surprised to find it but more often then not the airlines don’t have this feature on most of their fleet just yet.

Summary & Takeaways

Getting to use your own AirPods or bluetooth headphones is a huge benefit to have on airplanes and now that I’ve tried it I can’t go back. The AirFly has been simple and easy to use and is now one of my travel essentials that is always in my bag.

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