In-flight entertainment has come a long way since the days of only watching whatever movie the airline decided to show. Today, passengers have more options than ever when it comes to entertainment on flights. Over the past decade, airlines have been investing heavily in providing passengers with individual screens, offering a vast selection of movies, TV shows, games, and audio programs. However, one technology that is rapidly changing the in-flight entertainment game is Bluetooth wireless speakers.

Bluetooth speakers offer passengers the ability to easily stream their choice of music, podcasts, audiobooks, and more from their own device during a flight. While in years past, passengers had to make do with the generic music offerings on the plane’s audio channels or dig out their headphones to listen to their own content, Bluetooth speakers enable them to simply pair their smartphone or tablet and play audio out loud. This added convenience provides travelers much more control over their sound experience in the air.

Many airlines have already begun installing Bluetooth connectivity directly into their in-flight entertainment systems. For instance, Virgin Atlantic’s Vera Touch 2 system enables passengers to pair Bluetooth headphones as well as external speakers to the screen at their seat. Some airlines like Air France allow passengers to stream audio from their Bluetooth devices directly to the screen/speakers at their seat. Others like Emirates have seatback Bluetooth receivers that allow you to connect your smartphone to your seat’s entertainment portal.

With more and more airlines jumping on the Bluetooth bandwagon every day, passengers have an increasing ability to use wireless speakers as part of inflight entertainment. Travelers can bring compact, portable speakers like UE Boom or JBL Clip with them onboard to amplify sound from their devices. Small and lightweight, these types of speakers conveniently fit into carry-on bags. Because they don’t require wires, they are also useful for watching movies on tablets with a few other people by pairing multiple headphones to one speaker.

For airlines that do not yet offer seatback Bluetooth connectivity, portable wireless speakers enable passengers to free themselves from annoying headphone wires and pump up the volume on their devices. They can clearly listen to music or movies without earbuds falling out and getting tangled. Many modern speakers even offer robust bass and 360-degree sound for an immersive listening experience despite the cabin noise. Parents can use speakers to play kids’ programming or music from tablets to keep children occupied on long flights.

While the airline industry still has some kinks to work out around onboard Bluetooth policies to accommodate wireless speakers, this technology is poised to greatly enhance inflight entertainment. As more travelers embrace devices like iPhones over seatback screens, the demand increases for being able to easily connect personal gadgets midair and listen out loud. Bluetooth speakers offer a convenient solution to make that possible. Though current FAA regulations require passengers to lower speaker volume during takeoff/landing and announcements, these devices present an exciting step towards personalized entertainment in the skies. As airlines continue updating connectivity abilities, Bluetooth speakers will inevitably play a key role in the future of in-flight experience.