Last Updated: February 3, 2023

How To Listen To Music On A Plane: All The Different Ways

Got a long flight ahead and you’re not sure how to listen to music while you’re in the air? Then you’re definitely in the right place because this detailed guide will tell you all you need to know about listening to music on the plane.

It’s pretty simple really, and usually, all you need is your phone and your favorite headphones/earphones. In some cases, it’s possible to listen to music solely through the provided in-flight entertainment, which might be the best option if you’re trying to conserve battery life on your phone. In any case, here’s everything you should know about listening to music on a plane!

Ways You Can Listen to Music on a Plane

Airplane Seat

Music Streaming Service

A music streaming service is by far the best way of listening to music on a plane. Most popular services allow you to download albums and even playlists for offline access, so you can listen to your favorite songs even when your phone is in airplane mode.

However, it’s important to note that none of these services are free. Even services that have a free version won’t let you download music without a paid subscription, so keep that in mind.

Use of the Airplane’s Wifi

Many airlines offer in-flight Wi-Fi to their customers, and you can easily take advantage of this service if you’re on a plane. First, make sure to check whether the airline you’re traveling with next offers free Wi-Fi or if you have to pay extra for the service. If it’s a really long flight and you don’t have access to any offline music, the surcharge for Wi-Fi access is probably worth it.

If you have Wi-Fi access in flight, you can listen to music however you want. Do it on your favorite streaming app or just open up good old YouTube – it doesn’t really matter, as long as you have access to all your favorite songs and artists.

Use of the Airplane’s Seatback Screens

If you’re flying on a plane with seatback screens and in-flight entertainment, you can easily listen to music while preserving the battery life on your phone. Seatback screens will usually include some sort of music streaming service, but that depends on the airline and country.

In any case, you should be able to find your favorite artists and songs easily, regardless of which app you’re using.

Best Music Apps That Work on Airplane Mode

Music on Airplane

Before I tell you about all the different music streaming apps that let you access downloaded music in Airplane mode, allow me to remind you that you will need to turn Bluetooth on manually when you put your phone in Airplane mode.

That’s if you’re using Bluetooth headphones (AirPods) on the plane, which most of us are in 2023. Bluetooth will work still work on your phone even when it’s in Airplane mode, but you will need to go to settings to turn it on manually.

Additionally, make sure you have some free space on your phone. Depending on how much music you’re planning to download, you should free up at least 1-2 GB of storage on your device.

Spotify Music

Spotify remains the most popular music streaming service on the market, so naturally, it’s the top choice for many people. The only catch is that music download is available only on the premium service, so you need to pay for premium to be able to play Spotify music offline. You can download podcasts on the free version though, which is better than nothing.

If you’re already paying for Spotify premium, none of this matters too much. What matters is that you can download Spotify music to your device and access it easily even when you have no Internet access.

Apple Music

Apple Music is another popular app to stream music that also allows offline listening. You can stream whatever music you want with Internet access, and download your favorite songs so you can access them easily offline.

Apple Music works on both iOS and Android devices, but it’s a paid service. You can get a free trial period though, but it still requires you to input your credit card information. In any case, it’s not a bad app to try, especially if you remember to cancel the subscription before you’re charged.

Youtube Music

Youtube Music app is a pretty decent app that lets you play music online and offline. You need to pay for the premium version of the app for offline access, but also for the simple functionality of being able to lock your phone and have the music continue playing.

YT Music offers a free one-month trial that lets you experience the full functionality of the app without actually paying for a subscription, so definitely try that out if you’d rather not pay for a music streaming app.

Pandora Music

Pandora Music is a streaming app that has both a free version (with ads) as well a paid premium version. Downloading music for offline listening is available only with the paid version of the app, so you will need a Pandora subscription if you want to be able to listen to music without Wi-Fi.

Amazon Music

The Amazon Music app is a great option especially if you’re already paying for Prime membership. All Prime members get access to this app at no additional cost, which is pretty good value for money.

The app is available for both iOS and Android devices, and you can download music for offline listening on either platform.

Another great thing about the Amazon Music app is that it lets you download purchased music for offline listening. So, you don’t necessarily have to pay for a subscription to this app specifically – you can just purchase the albums that you want to listen to offline.

Deezer Music & Podcast Player

Deezer Music is another popular app for streaming music and various podcasts. The app has a free trial for new subscribers, which allows you to take advantage of all the premium features for one month before you’re actually charged.

The premium features include downloading and listening to music offline, which is essential if you want to be able to listen to music on a plane without Wi-Fi. You can try out the app for free – just remember to cancel your subscription if you don’t want to be charged!

Tidal Music

Tidal Music is the app I personally use to listen to music, but that’s only because I get a free subscription from my Internet provider. It’s a decent app and I’m pretty content with it, especially because it lets me download my favorite albums and playlists so I can listen to them offline.

Tidal is a pretty affordable music streaming service, and it’s got a massive library with all the most popular artists. It works seamlessly in Airplane mode, and it lets you easily download a playlist of all your favorite tracks, which is the feature I like the most.

Frequently Asked Questions

laptop used on the plane

Do all planes have Wi-Fi?

No, not all planes have Wi-Fi. Don’t expect it if you’re flying with budget carriers like Ryanair or WizzAir, but do expect it when traveling on luxury and high-end airlines. It’s also important to note that access to Wi-Fi depends on the carrier and flight – sometimes all passengers have free Wi-Fi, and other times you have to pay to be able to access it.

It depends on many factors really, and it’s always best to check what you should expect from your next flight. This information is normally provided by the airline, and you can find it on their official website.

Can I listen to music for free on a plane without Wi-Fi?

I mean you can technically, but not in a very legal way. There are still ways to download songs without paying for them, but whether or not that’s legal depends on the piracy laws in your country. So, if you live somewhere where piracy is against the law – which is most of the world – you can’t really get access to free music offline.

You can also try to get a free trial for Apple Music or Youtube Music, and see if they will let you download music for offline listening. The free trials for these services require you to input your payment information, but they will not charge you anything before your trial month is up.

So, if you remember to cancel the subscription before they charge you for anything and everything goes smoothly with the downloads, you might just be able to listen to music on a plane without Wi-Fi, without paying for anything!

Are airline headphones free?

If you are on a flight with in-flight entertainment systems, you should get a pair of earbuds for free. You can usually keep these after a flight – if the flight attendants don’t come to collect them before landing, they’re yours to keep. But you can’t keep the fancy headphones that are given to passengers in first class.

It’s worth noting that you won’t get earbuds on headphones on every flight. These are usually given out to passengers on long-haul flights, but you can always ask the flight attendants if they have a pair of headphones you can borrow during the flight. Be polite, and they might just help you.

About the Author Roger Timbrook

Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!

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