This little Bluetooth dongle is now my essential travel and travel companion

AirFly Pro on table next to earbuds in a case and a Pixel phone.
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The AirFly Pro is on the table next to headphones and a Pixel phone in a box.

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Flights are boring, long ones are even more boring. since I have picky ears that despise almost any headphone shape or sizeI’ve often struggled with the default inflight entertainment options. For the past few years, I have resorted to downloading some podcasts and playlists and listening to them with my tried and tested comfortable Bluetooth buds. It’s a minimalist setup but it works for me and it’s a tablets or the laptop in the small space in front of me.

Yet looking at my husband next to me, I was still envious of how he could take any headset or headset provided by the aircraft and use it with his inflight entertainment system. I can watch two movies on our four-hour return trip to Lebanon, and I have a hard time passing the time after the second or third hour.

The sound can go so far as to distract me on a flight of only a few hours. Movies spend better time.

Then, as I prepared for my transatlantic flight to Toronto last month, I realized that I needed a solution to help pass these seven+ hours. I came across the AirFly Pro in my search for a solution, and now that I’ve used it on several flights, I must say it’s easily the cleanest and most versatile little travel gadget.

Airfly Pro plugged into the passenger console of an Air France plane with Google Pixel Buds Pro and Air France headphones

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Most planes today have a 3.5mm headphone jack, and airlines provide you with a pair of inexpensive, disposable earplugs to wear. Some older drones may have two-prong outputs (although it’s been a few years since I’ve personally encountered them), while newer ones may offer pre-plugged headphones.

AirFly Pro only works when there is a 3.5mm jack. Plugs directly into the inflight entertainment system and Bluetooth headphone or buds. A button turns it on and puts it into pairing mode, and all you have to do is make sure your headphones are in pairing mode for them to find each other and connect.

I plugged it into the airplane’s audio output and enjoyed watching movies on my own Bluetooth buds.

I tested both Google Pixel Buds Professional and Nothing Ear 1and it worked like a charm. Within seconds, I was watching a movie on the headrest screen in front of me without sacrificing the comfort of my ears. And without wearing Air France’s horrible-sounding over-ear headphones that have been on countless heads before mine. (Later I took another flight where they provided these disposable buds and avoided them too – less e-waste, more comfortable ears, a win-win for everyone.)

AirFly Pro dongle, focus on USB-C Port

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

The best part is that Pixel Buds Pro can connect to two devices at the same time, so I can easily switch from watching a movie on the airplane screen (with AirFly Pro) to listening to some music or capturing video on my phone. without removing my buds, pressing any buttons or plugging/unplugging anything. But this isn’t a Buds Pro-only feature — look for headphones or buds that offer “Multipoint” functionality and you can have a similarly seamless experience.

Beyond airplanes, this could add Bluetooth output to older TVs and game consoles, iPods and gym equipment.

Now back to the dongle. It can do much more. I focus on the travel experience, but you can basically use this to turn anything with a 3.5mm headphone output into a wireless device. Gym equipment, iPod Nano or Classic, an older TV or game console; the list goes on.

There’s also a splitter function that lets you route audio to two Bluetooth headphones at the same time, so you can watch the same thing in a public place with a friend, sibling or partner and still enjoy the isolation of your own headphones/buds.

Focus on AirFly Pro dongle, Bluetooth transmission TX and receive RX pass-through

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

But there is another side to the equation. See the little TX-RX toggle on the side of the AirFly Pro? Turn it to RX to completely change the way the dongle works.

Now a Bluetooth receiver. Plug into the auxiliary input jack of any car or speaker; It will capture and play sounds from a emitting device such as your phone, tablet or computer. They are versatile.

One touch and it transforms into a Bluetooth receiver for any car or speaker. Perfect for road trips.

During my trip to Canada, I used the dongle in receiver mode in our rental cars to play my favorite songs. Again, let me hit a key, let me pair it up Pixel 6 Pro. I didn’t need to figure out each car’s Bluetooth pairing process, I just paired it with the dongle once and plugged it into the cars. I regret not trying such a solution with my old Subaru XV. That car had the most unstable Bluetooth connection and could not see my phone in four-fifths; a Bluetooth receiver like this one would let me skip this altogether.

Despite its small size, AirFly Pro’s battery lasts for about 16 hours. It took a seven-hour flight, several hours of driving, and then almost the same seven-hour flight back. And when it was empty, I charged it via USB-C and it was ready to go.

If you don’t mind the receiver feature, you can save a few bucks by choosing a simpler version of AirFly. These are the options available now:

  • Airplane ($34.99) is only a Bluetooth transmitter and can only be paired with one set of headphones at a time.
  • AirFly Duo ($44.99) adds the option to pair and listen to two Bluetooth headphones simultaneously.
  • AirFly Pro ($54.99) does all of the above and also acts as a receiver.
  • A discontinued AirFly USB-C (still sold by third-party vendors for $60 or more) was basically the same as the Duo, but with a USB-C plug instead of a 3.5mm jack.

The Pro makes the most sense for my use, but I wish it came with a USB-C converter in the box that would allow me to use it on my Android phones and iPad as well.

The AirFly Pro is top to bottom next to the earbuds in a box.

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Having my setup ready for use on any flight and in any car is incredibly convenient.

Was AirFly Pro necessary in any case I tried? Of course not. But getting on the plane or car and knowing that my own setup was ready was incredibly convenient. And it is also very small and portable. So it has rightfully earned a permanent place in my travel bag.

AirFly Professional

AirFly Professional

Great on airplanes • Works in cars • USB-C charging

A versatile dongle that lets you use your own Bluetooth headset on airplanes and more

AirFly Pro is a dual-mode Bluetooth dongle. In transmission mode, it can share audio from any device (including airplanes) to a pair of Bluetooth buds or earphones. In receive mode, it can be plugged into a car or speakers to receive audio from a phone or tablet. It charges via USB-C and lasts for 16 hours on a charge.

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