How To Watch Movies On A Plane: Best Inflight Entertainment In 2023

How To Watch Movies On A Plane

Ah, the pleasures of in-flight entertainment. The rush of seeing a terrific movie or your favorite shows during a long flight while suspended 30,000 feet in the air and surrounded by strangers, or the pain of attempting to watch a movie on a small screen while dealing with buffering issues, crying kids, and a seatmate who insists on talking the entire flight.

But don’t worry; this guide will show you how to get the most out of your in-flight entertainment. So sit back, relax, and enjoy yourself—once we’re in the air, that is.

How To Watch Movies On A Plane

how to watch movies on a plane


A few options are available to you if you want to view movies on a plane.

  1. Utilizing the inflight entertainment system, which is normally accessible on larger commercial aircraft and certain airlines, is the first and most conventional alternative. The seat-back screen in front of you can access a range of movies, TV shows, and other types of entertainment using this system.
  2. Downloaded movies on a laptop, tablet or mobile device that you carry with you and use to watch movies throughout the journey is an additional alternative. This gives you access to streaming services like the Netflix app, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube Red, Apple TV, HBO Max, or Disney+, as well as your personal movie collection on your iPhone or Android devices. Also, it means you need to make sure your device is fully charged and has enough battery life. You should also download movies so you can watch them when you’re not connected to the internet.
  3. A third option is to use a streaming service like Netflix or Amazon Prime that works over Wi-Fi to watch movies on your device. If the airline has WiFi, this can be a fantastic choice. But keep in mind that streaming movies requires a strong and stable internet connection, which can be hard on a flight.

In short, you can watch movies on a plane using the entertainment system, a portable device, or a streaming service. The best choice for you will depend on your preferences and airline policies. Each has advantages and disadvantages of its own.

In-Flight Entertainment Digital Video

Pros Vs. Cons

how to watch movies on a plane

The advantages are:

  • Convenience: The in-flight entertainment system often offers a large selection of films, TV shows, and other entertainment types and is easy to use and navigate.
  • No extra tools are required: There is less fuss because you do not need to bring your own device.
  • Shared experience: You can view the movie with other passengers on the same trip and talk to your seatmate about it.

The drawbacks include the following:

  • There may not be as many movies and TV shows on the in-flight entertainment system, and it may not be updated as often as streaming services.
  • Quality issues: Watching on a personal device or streaming service may offer a higher resolution picture and sound quality than the in-flight entertainment system, which isn’t exactly movie theater quality.
  • Headphones: If you’re used to AirPods or Bluetooth noise-canceling headphones, you’ll need a cable to plug headphones into the airplane’s entertainment system.
  • Technical problems: You risk having a bad movie experience if the in-flight entertainment system has technical issues, including a damaged screen or headphones.

In conclusion, using the in-flight entertainment system is a practical choice. Still, it might not be the best way to watch movies because of its limited selection and possible quality problems.


With a few straightforward instructions, navigating the in-flight entertainment system can be a breeze:

  • Browse through the many categories, such as “New Releases,” “Comedy,” “Drama,” and so on, to find the movie you want.
  • Use the search feature to locate a movie if you know the title of the one you want to view.
  • Use the buttons on your seat remote or the screen in front of you to change the volume; just be careful not to turn it up and annoy other passengers unintentionally.

Personal Devices

how to watch movies on a plane

What Are The Best Personal Devices For Watching Movies?

The best device is the one you already own, but if you’re looking for an updated tablet that is faster or holds more movies, Amazon has a lot of different tablets that can be used to watch movies. Here are a few of the most popular ones:

All of these tablets are great for watching movies. Your choice depends on your tastes and budget, and before you buy, you should also check the seller’s warranty, return policy, and customer service.

Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones For Flying

The Bose QuietComfort set the standard for high-quality noise-cancelling headphones, though the comfort and performance come at a cost.

Which Streaming Subscription Online Services Give You The Best Download Option?

Using their respective apps, these subscription services allow you to download a list of movies to your own personal devices via wifi or cellular connection. Note: using cellular, it can take a long time to download high quality

Netflix: Netflix account subscribers get access to a vast library of TV episodes and movies that can be downloaded for offline watching on mobile devices. Even though Netflix’s content is always changing, most of the time it is a mix of licensed and original shows. Your favorite television show can be saved to the device (for most content) by clicking the download button next to the episode.

Amazon Prime Video lets you download full movies and TV shows to watch when you’re not connected to the internet. Even though the things you can download are always changing, most of the time they are a mix of licensed and original programming. Movies can be saved offline with the download icon next to each episode.

Disney+: Disney Plus customers can download their favorite movies and TV shows to watch them offline on their cell phones or table. Disney’s filmography of animated and live-action productions and content from Star Wars, Marvel, and National Geographic are all available for download.

With the Hulu TV app, users can download TV shows to watch when they don’t have internet access. Even though the things you can download are always changing, most of the time they are a mix of licensed and original programming.

YouTube Premium: Users of YouTube Premium can download videos, including various movies and TV shows, for offline watching on iOS devices and android devices.

Pros and Cons Of Personal Devices

There are pros and cons to watching videos offline on your phone or tablet on your next flight.

The advantages are:

  • More movies and TV shows to choose from: Compared to the in-flight entertainment system, streaming services like Netflix movies, Amazon Video App, and Disney+ provide a considerably bigger range of films and TV series. You can even access your personal movie library from digital movie stories.
  • Better picture and sound quality: Due to the higher resolutions and sound quality, watching a movie on your own device might improve the whole movie-watching experience.
  • Customization: You may make your viewing experience more enjoyable by altering the volume, contrast, and brightness to your preferences.
  • Familiarity: Using your own gadget is convenient because you are accustomed to it and are familiar with how to utilize it.

The drawbacks include:

  • You’ll need to bring your own gadget for offline use, which will add to the inconvenience.
  • Limited battery life: You risk running out of battery before the movie is finished if you don’t have a power bank with you or an available outlet to charge your smartphone.
  • Airline regulations Make sure to check the airline’s policy before the journey as some airlines have limitations on the usage of personal electronic devices during specific periods of the flight.

Power Outlets

how to watch movies on a plane and charge your phone
USB port at the seat of airplane for charging the electronics devices while traveling.

Nowadays, many airlines provide power outlets at each seat, enabling customers to charge their own devices while in flight. However, depending on the airline and the kind of aircraft, different power plugs might be available.

Airlines provide standard ac power outlets at certain seats. Most often these are on newer aircraft, and larger widebody. To determine if your flight has power outlets, check to see what kind of airplane is flying your route then check the airlines website.

Keep in mind often these power outlets don’t have enough output to charge large devices like Ipads while they’re being used, especially the small USB outlets that are located next to in-flight entertainment systems

  • American Airlines: American Airlines flights provide power outlets on a few flights, mostly larger aircraft serving long-distance international routes, and newer aircraft. Main cabin on older aircraft is less likely to have power outlets
  • Delta Air Lines: Some domestic and long-haul international ones. More likely to find in the best seats like first/business class, premium select, and extra comfort section.
  • United Airlines: certain domestic and long-haul international ones.
  • Power outlets are available on the majority of Air France’s international flights.
  • British Airways: On the majority of its long-haul flights, power outlets are available.
  • Power outlets are available on the majority of Lufthansa’s long-haul flights.
  • Emirates: On the majority of its flights, Emirates provides power outlets.

Personal Device Tips

Here are some pointers for setting up your gadget for viewing in flight:

Download the movies you want to watch before your flight so you don’t have to deal with buffering or internet connection problems. To watch offline, you can download content from many streaming services, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+, as well as other digital movie stores. Other services that may be available for download are Google Play movies, YouTube videos, Apple music, Google Play Music

Make sure your gadget is fully charged: Charge your device completely before the flight, or pack a power bank in case you need to charge it while you’re airborne.

Bring your own headphones so you may see the movie without upsetting your seatmates.

Configure the settings: Your device’s settings, including the brightness and contrast, can be adjusted to your preference.

Verify the airline’s rules: Before you travel, find out what the airline’s rules are about using personal electronics so you can make the right plans.

You might want to bring more than one movie to view if the flight is long, so keep that in mind.

Airplane Movies From The Wifi Network

Now, many airlines in the United States offer a free library of movies that you can stream to your own device while you’re in the air. Usually, an exclusive streaming app and the airline’s own free wifi (not cellular data) network are used for this. The movies and TV shows may be different from one airline to the next, and the library is usually updated often.

This network is accessed by connecting to the airline’s wifi network, then opening your browser or the airline mobile app, and doesn’t usually include free wifi access for other things like browser use or social media.

The benefit of streaming free movies through the airline’s wifi network is that you may view the newest releases without having to rely on your offline collection and you don’t need to download them in advance. Additionally, since the movie will be streamed and won’t take up any storage space on your device, you don’t need to worry about that too.

Streaming movies through the airline’s wifi network can cause problems with the internet connection, like stuttering and dropping out. Also, the number of movies might be smaller than on streaming services like Netflix or Amazon Prime. You should check the price before you begin streaming because some airlines can charge for this service.

In conclusion, people who want to see the newest releases but don’t want to download the movies beforehand will find streaming movies through the airline’s wifi network to be a terrific option. It’s crucial to be aware of any potential restrictions, such as lost connections, a small choices, and potential fees.

DVD/Blu-ray Player

In the past few years, streaming services and online content have become more popular, making portable DVD players less popular. As technology has improved, it’s become easier to watch movies and videos on smartphones and tablets, making DVD players obsolete. But they still have some uses, particularly if it’s a device that you already own.

A portable DVD player is a small, portable device that can play DVDs or Blu-ray discs. Most of these players have built-in speakers and a small LCD screen. They can be powered by batteries or an AC adapter. They can also be hooked up to a TV or other external screen to show a bigger picture. 

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