United Airlines is bringing Bluetooth audio to its in-flight entertainment

Wireless headphones support coming to in-flight entertainment systems
(Image credit: Jetstar Airways: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Enjoying_the_in-flight_entertainment_system_(10832720896).jpg)

Forget the two-pin adapters and getting cables caught up in your food tray; wireless headphones support is coming to a United Airlines airplane near you.

The airline has announced Bluetooth support for the in-flight entertainment systems on its new line of Boeing 737 Max 8 jets and, with any luck, the trial will prove a success.

United showed off the system to journalists as part of its 'United Next' fleet expansion programme along with additions like wifi and LED lighting but it was the Bluetooth system that captured the attention of Jason Rabinowitz who posted some video of the headphones pairing.

It certainly looks simple enough in the demo but it will be interesting to see how well the system copes with a plane packed full of passengers and wireless signals. How much range will each system have? Will you have to scroll through a huge list of compatible devices? Will there be any issues with lip-sync?

A lot of people now travel with their own tablet or smartphone in tow, but there's something to be said for the movies offered through in-flight entertainment. Hopefully, the 10in or 13in size displays on their 737 Max 8 aircraft are up to scratch – judging by the video, the picture quality doesn't look too shabby.

Whether you're interested in connecting your wireless headphones to an in-flight system or not, it's certainly good to see air travel moving with the times and we look forward to this tech and more making its way across other carriers.


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Dan Sung

Dan is a staff writer at What Hi-Fi? and his job is with product reviews as well as news, feature and advice articles too. He works across both the hi-fi and AV parts of the site and magazine and has a particular interest in home cinema. Dan joined What Hi-Fi? in 2019 and has worked in tech journalism for over a decade, writing for Tech Digest, Pocket-lint, MSN Tech and Wareable as well as freelancing for T3, Metro and the Independent. Dan has a keen interest in playing and watching football. He has also written about it for the Observer and FourFourTwo and ghost authored John Toshack's autobiography, Toshack's Way.