I tried this genius gadget to hear airplane movies with my AirPods — here's what I thought

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The AirFly Pro is a slim, shiny dongle that adds Bluetooth to airplanes, home stereos and lots more. (Photo: Rick Broida/Yahoo)
The AirFly Pro is a slim, shiny dongle that adds Bluetooth to airplanes, home stereos and lots more. (Photo: Rick Broida/Yahoo)

It's a first-world problem, but a problem all the same: You plunk down in your airplane seat, all set to watch some in-flight entertainment, when you realize there's no way to use your AirPods. They're wireless, of course, and paired with your phone. Now what?

Now you remember the Twelve South AirFly Pro ($55 at Amazon) you cleverly remembered to attach to your keychain for just such an emergency. This handy little accessory plugs into any 3.5mm audio jack and pairs with AirPods or other wireless earbuds or headphones. And it's not just for airplanes, either: If you have, for example, a Nintendo Switch, you've probably wished for a wireless audio option. This is it.

$55 at Amazon

The AirFly Pro can also work the other way: You can plug it into, say, an older home stereo or car stereo and then use your phone to stream tunes. All this happens via Bluetooth, with little more than a button press required for setup.

The device looks decidedly Apple-like, with its glossy white finish and rounded edges — a worthy AirPods companion, to be sure. It charges via a USB-C port and includes a little keychain cap for the stereo plug. The latter fits very snugly, which should keep the AirFly from accidentally falling out and getting lost, but I'd still be a little leery about letting it ride shotgun with my keys. Thankfully, there's also a drawstring carrying case if you'd rather go that route.

That case also holds the instruction guide, which has rather small print but is very clear and easy to understand. After the initial pairing process with your AirPods or other device, you just have to remember to hold the power button for five seconds to turn the AirFly on — and five more to turn it off again.

Meanwhile, there's a little switch on the side that toggles between transmit and receive modes. If you're not interested in the latter (meaning you just want the headphone option for planes and such), the AirFly Duo costs about $10 less and actually has slightly better battery life: About 20 hours, versus 16 on the Pro.

One great perk with both: You can pair two sets of headphones simultaneously, meaning you and a companion can watch the same in-flight movie.

In my tests the AirFly Pro worked flawlessly, pairing easily with my AirPods Pro and remembering that connection from one session to the next. While there are less-expensive options out there, I like the AirFly's compact, all-white design.

Bottom line: If you've ever wished for a way to turn a wired headphone jack into a wireless one, this is your dongle.

$55 at Amazon

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