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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AirFly Pro on the table next to the headphones in the box and the Pixel phone.

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Flights are boring, longer flights. Because I have picky ears that despise almost any headphone shape or size, I’ve often struggled with standard in-flight entertainment options. Over the past few years, I’ve resorted to downloading some podcasts and playlists and listening to them with my tried-and-true Bluetooth buds. It’s a minimalist setup, but it works for me and allows me to skip compression tablets or the laptop in the small space in front of me.

Although, looking at my husband next to me, I still posted how he can take the headphones or earphones provided by the plane and use them with the in-flight entertainment system. On our four-hour trips home to Lebanon, he manages two movies, and I struggle to pass the time after the second or third hour.

Sound can only go so far to distract me on a flight of several hours. Movies are a better waste of time.

Then, as I prepared for my transatlantic flight to Toronto last month, I realized I needed a solution to help pass those seven hours. In my search for a solution, I came across the AirFly Pro, and now that I’ve used it on a few flights, I have to say it’s easily the neatest and most versatile little travel tool.

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

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Most airplanes these days have a 3.5mm headphone jack, and airlines provide you with a pair of cheap, disposable headphones to plug in. Some older aircraft may have a two-pin output (although it’s been a few years since I’ve personally encountered them), while newer ones may offer pre-connected headphones.

AirFly Pro only works with a 3.5mm jack. It connects directly to the in-flight entertainment system and lets you stream the audio to yourself bluetooth headphones or buds. One button turns it on and puts it in pairing mode, and you just need to make sure your headset is in pairing mode to find and connect.

I plugged it into the plane’s audio output and enjoyed the movie on my Bluetooth buds.

I experimented with both Google Pixel Buds Pro and Nothing Listen 1, and it worked like a charm. A few seconds later I was watching a movie on the title screen in front of me for the comfort of my ears. Without wearing Air France’s terrible-sounding headphones, which have been on countless heads before me. (I later took another flight where they gave disposable buds and avoided them too – less e-waste, more comfortable ears, win-win for all.)

Note the AirFly Pro key, USB-C port

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

The best part is that the 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 the AirFly Pro) to listening to some music or shooting a video on my phone. , without removing my buds, pressing any buttons or plugging/unplugging anything. It’s not just a Buds Pro feature – look for headphones or buds that offer ‘Multipoint’ functionality and you can get a similarly seamless experience.

Beyond airplanes, it can add Bluetooth access to older TVs and game consoles, iPods, and gym equipment.

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

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

AirFly Pro switch, focus on Bluetooth transmit TX and receive RX switch

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

But there is another side to the equation. See the little TX-RX switch on the side of the AirFly Pro? Switch the dongle to the RX position to completely change how it works.

Now it’s a Bluetooth receiver. Plug it into the auxiliary input jack of any car or speaker, and it will capture and play any sound from an emitting device like your phone, tablet or computer. Versatile.

One click and it becomes 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 tunes. Another push of a button lets me pair it with me Pixel 6 Pro. I didn’t have to figure out each car’s Bluetooth pairing process, I just paired it once with the key fob and connected it to the cars. I regret not trying such a solution with the old Subaru XV. This car had the most unstable Bluetooth connection and failed to see my phone four times out of five; a Bluetooth receiver like this would let me bypass that entirely.

Despite its small size, the AirFly Pro’s battery lasts about 16 hours. A seven-hour flight, a couple of hours of driving, and then the same seven-hour flight pretty much continued. And when it was empty, I just charged it via USB-C and it was ready to go.

If you don’t care about the receiver feature, you can save a few bucks by opting for the simpler AirFly version. The options offered now are:

  • The AirFly ($34.99) is just a Bluetooth transmitter and can only pair with one set of headphones at a time.
  • AirFly Duo ($44.99) adds the option to connect and listen to two Bluetooth headphones at the same time.
  • AirFly Pro ($54.99) does all of the above and also acts as a receiver.
  • Discontinued AirFly USB-C (still sold by third-party sellers 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 so I could use it on my Android phones and iPad as well.

AirFly Pro top down next to the earbuds in the box.

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

The fact that the setup is ready to go on any flight and in any car is incredibly convenient.

Was the AirFly Pro essential in any situation I tried it on? No, of course not. But it was pretty comforting to get on a flight or in a car and know that my setup was ready to go. It is also very small and portable. Therefore, it has rightfully earned a permanent place in my travel bag.

AirFly Pro

AirFly Pro

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 streaming mode, it can share audio from any device (including airplanes) with a pair of Bluetooth buds or headphones. In receive mode, it can be connected to a car or speakers to receive audio from a phone or tablet. It charges via USB-C and lasts 16 hours on a charge.

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