How to Use Your Own Headphones for In-Flight Entertainment

You’re all packed and ready to go for your holiday. You love the in-flight movies, but you hate using headphones that aren’t your own beloved pair. You board the flight, go to plug in your headphones, and disaster strikes: it’s a two-pin socket!

No matter what you do, you can’t use your own headphones to properly listen to the in-flight entertainment. This is very frustrating, and raises two very valid questions: why is this happening, and what can you do to fix it?

Why Do Airlines Use Two-Pin Sockets?

The reason airlines use two-pin sockets on their planes is a little debated. One on hand it can be seen as a relic of older times. Planes rolled out two-pin sockets in the 70s as part of the tube-based audio system they used.

As technology jumped to electronic headphone systems, the old-fashioned two-pin sockets stuck around. While some modern planes have since been updated to use single ports, older planes will still have these two-pin sockets.

Another theory is that it helps the airline financially over the long term. If the airline supplies the headphones for free, then using the two-pin sockets ensures the headphones are practically useless outside of the flight, reducing the passenger’s desire to steal them. If the airline sells the headphones separately, using two-pin sockets stops people using their own headphones and forces more customers to purchase the airline’s special two-pin headphones.

Regardless of which theory you think sounds better, this problem is easily defeated without jumping through the airline’s hoops. This is achieved by an airline headphone adapter which converts a standard one-pin headphone jack into a two-pin connection. Plug your headphones into the adapter, then the adapter into the two-pin socket, and you’re good to go!

Find out below what kind of adapters are available and which one is the best for you.

For Lone Travellers and Couples


Whether you’re on a voyage by yourself or enjoying a holiday with a partner, the Airplane Headphone Adapter by UCEC is a welcome addition to anyone’s luggage. It comes with two adapters that go from two-pin to one-pin. This is handy for couples as well as single travellers who are prone to losing small items while on the move. They even come with their own travel bag to keep them together and tidy in your luggage.

For Families


If you want a quick solution to kit out the whole family with adapters, try the 4-Pack of Airline Flight Adapters by Valefod. This is a quick and budget-friendly way to get an adapter for everyone to use, so nobody has to go without or share with someone else. No additional bells and whistles on this one – just a good selection of adapters for a great price.

For Overnight Trips


If you’re prepping yourself for an especially long journey and need something to pass the time, consider the Airline Headphone Adapter by UCEC. Like the model above, this comes with two adapters and a travel bag. Unlike the model above, this one also comes with two pairs of eye masks and a pair of earplugs for a better night’s sleep.

For Bluetooth Headphones


If you’re looking for something with Bluetooth connectivity, first ensure the airline is alright with you using Bluetooth accessories. Some will ban it for the entire flight, while others are more lenient and allow you to use it when the plane isn’t taking off or landing. If you’re absolutely positive it will be okay for you to go Bluetooth, SoundWhiz’s receiver-adapter comes with an airplane adapter built in, so you don’t need to buy a second wired pair just to listen to in flight entertainment.

For the Full Works


Why stop at an airplane adapter? The Maxell Adapter Kit comes with five different tools, one of which is the standard adapter for airplane headphone sockets. It also comes with a 20ft extension cord, just in case your headphone cable is a bit on the short side.

Plane Sailing

It can be frustrating to bring your headphones to a flight, only to find they’re totally useless when presented with a two-pin socket. This article has shown you some available adapters and where each one shines.

Which one do you think you’ll get? Let us know below.

Image Credit: Delta News Hub on Flickr

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