Can You Bring Headphones On A Plane? (TSA Rules)

Last Updated on December 4, 2021

It would seem sensible to bring your headphones on the airplane. You will need them to listen to music or watch a movie on your phone to help pass the time.

But wireless bluetooth headphones have batteries which makes them electronics in the eyes of the TSA.

So are there any rules that stop you taking your headphones with you when you fly?

Let’s take a look.

TSA Headphones Rules

The airport security checkpoint is managed and controlled by the Transportation Security Administration. They screen your luggage to make sure no dangerous items are brought on board.

Here’s what they say about taking headphones on an airplane:

You can bring headphones in either carry-on luggage or checked luggage.

Small headphones, including wired or wireless headphones, can remain in your bag when going through the security checkpoint.

Over ear headphones that are larger than a cell phone should be removed from your bag at the checkpoint and placed in a bin for separate screening.

How To Use Wireless Headphones On A Plane

The FAA has decided that short range bluetooth accessories like wireless headphones are safe to use during the flight.

But when you turn on airplane mode on your phone, tablet, or laptop it may disable bluetooth.

You can simply reenable bluetooth to connect your headphones. The main thing is that you need to have the cellular connection disabled.

I usually wait until the flight attendant has finished their safety demonstration before I put my headphones on. Personally I think it’s a little rude to not at least pretend you are listening.

Once you are in the air noise canceling headphones work best on flights. They really make your flight a lot more comfortable and allow you to hear your music or movie without turning the volume up too loud.

Some airlines have updated their in-flight entertainment systems so that you can connect using your bluetooth headphones but it’s a bit hit and miss.

And a lot of budget airlines are doing away with screens on the backs of seats anyway. Everyone has a cell phone that they can use to watch Netflix anyway these days.

You can buy headphones at the airport if you need a new pair before your flight. Or these are the noise canceling headphones that I use and recommend:

Still Unsure? Ask The TSA

You can ping the TSA a message on Twitter and they get back to you really quickly.

Belle asked if she could bring over-the-ear bluetooth headphones in her carry-on and if she would need to remove them from her carry-on when going through airport security:

The TSA replied, “Wireless headphones are allowed in carry-on bags. Please remove all personal electronic devices larger than a cell phone and place them in a bin for X-ray screening”.

Dylan wasn’t sure if his headphones needed to be screened separately at airport security.

But the TSA told him he’d need to take his large headphones out his carry-on and place them in a bin for screening:

Ramen wanted to bring a gaming headset on the plane:

The TSA gave him the green light to pack the gaming headset in his hand luggage.

Someone stole Bose headphones from Shobhit’s checked luggage:

The same happened to Jeffery:

That’s why it’s always best to pack any valuable headphones in hand luggage. Besides you’ll probably need them on the plane so packing your headphones in your personal item bag is the most handy place.

The Verdict

You can take headphones on a plane in either hand luggage or checked luggage. It doesn’t matter if they are wireless or wired headphones.

But it’s usually never a good idea to pack headphones in your checked bag.

The best place to pack them is in your personal item. Remove them from your bag at the security checkpoint if they are large over ear headphones.

And lastly, remember to charge your headphones batteries before your flight!

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