Using VR Headsets on Plane: TSA Security, Travel Prep & Tips

CAN YOU TAKE A VR HEADSET ON THE PLANE?
Yes, you can safely pack your VR headset, such as the Oculus Go or Quest, in the carry-on luggage (allowed by TSA regulations) and pass the time by watching a movie or playing a game or two during the flight.

Traveling is great! Meeting new people, experiencing new cultures, eat new foods – who would dislike that, right? Well. I do. Sometimes. Namely, the four or so odd hours before and after the fun bits that I have to spend in the airport and on a plane (potentially with small children!). And what’s the deal with airline food?! If the altitude doesn’t get you, the suspect sandwiches will.

So there you sit, bored out of your mind and hungry. There are about three books in your carry on weighing you down because you swore you’d get through them all during this long flight, but let’s be honest, you feel no actual urge to read.

Luckily, there are other forms of escapism available to you! And what better way to escape (and make that screaming kid behind you jealous) than whipping out a VR headset and diving into your favorite movie or game for the duration of the flight? You just have to make sure you don’t miss your stop, after all…

Time flies when you’re having fun…

Before setting off! 

There are some fairly basic, yet essential things you must keep in mind before setting off on your journey. These tips and tricks, however obvious they may seem, should be revised before and after packing, just in case!

  • Fully charge your headset. While your battery usage will be lower since you won’t be connected to WiFi, an Oculus Quest or an Oculus Go will last you at most three hours if used intensely. Make sure you make the most out of their battery life!
  • Don’t forget the batteries for your controllers! Since batteries don’t run out quite as quickly, you might not even think about changing them before heading off – however, better safe than sorry! To avoid a disappointing trip, fully charge your controllers as well.
  • Headphones, headphones, headphones! It may seem obvious, but please pack your headphones. Just like you don’t want to be listening to that screaming kid, nobody wants to be a part of your exciting VR adventure either. It’s more immersive for you, and it saved other passengers’ brain cells – everyone wins! You can find the official Oculus in-ear headphones from Amazon, but really any earphones with a 3.5mm audio jack will do.

In addition to these necessities, there are also some extra purchases you may consider if you’re a frequent traveler or are undertaking long-distance flights.

  • Additional batteries, just to be safe. If you’ve already bought refills for your controllers, you will want to chuck the rest of the batteries into your bag as well. Better safe than sorry, after all, and the little things hardly take up any space at all!
  • Consider buying a battery pack. While two to three hours might be enough of a charge for some flights, its hardly ideal when flying long distances. Luckily, battery packs for both the Oculus Quest and Oculus Go are available on the market: there’s a wide variety of them, and they’re not as expensive as you might think!

    When considering external batteries, it’s important to keep in mind that only those supporting 5V 2.4A charging will do for the Oculus. This battery back that you can order from Amazon will do its job nicely. Or if you want a longer charge, you can opt for a slightly more expensive 20100mAh option.
  • A case for your headset. This may be another one of these things that seem obvious, but to avoid damage to your headset during travel, you really should consider purchasing a travel case. You can find the official travel cases for both the Oculus Go and Oculus Quest from Amazon. Treat your electronics with care!

  • Game and movie prep. No WiFi on planes, as well all know. So what? So download your games (which can be played seated) and movies beforehand!! Pick out the ones you want to play or watch and have those bad boys ready for the trip.

So, now you know everything you have to watch out for before heading off to the airport. But what about when you’re there? We all know there are a bunch of regulations and checks on technology – how does that apply to your headset?

What’s the deal with TSA & Getting Your Headset Through Airport Security?

Yeah, I know, I’m running the joke into the ground.

Anyway.

So, the TSA will allow lithium batteries with more than 100 watt-hours with airline approval. Meaning anything below that is game, and both the Oculus… Ehm. Oculusi? Oculuses? Both of them are way under 100 watt-hours, with the Oculus Quest having a 14 watt-hour rating and the Go having a 9.36.

You’re all good to go! Pack your headsets and set off past the TSA men with a confident saunter – all your favorite pass time gadgets are absolutely legal. 

When going through baggage check, you might want to take your Oculus out of your bag, but it isn’t necessary to take it out of the traveling case. The main thing TSA agents look out for is any stacked electronics, so as long as it is separate, you’ll be fine. 

And while in-flight?

Some questions might crop up while using these devices on the plane.

Let’s start with an obvious one – there isn’t an actual airplane mode on either of the Oculus devices, what now? Well, the best thing is probably to turn off the wifi in your settings. You cannot turn off Bluetooth, but setting the phone your Oculus is connected with into airplane mode should probably do the trick. 

Since the Go and Quest are made to be portable, there isn’t much else you should go around changing. Just strap ‘em on and relax!

For those fearing nausea, it is reported by avid VR users that the experience actually takes you away from the flight. So if you’re worried about flight anxiety or any similar ailments, VR might actually be the perfect solution for your troubles!


In conclusion: The Oculus Quest and the Oculus Go are perfect for in-flight entertainment, especially for people who have issues with flying. TSA has no gripes with them, either, so toss ‘em in the bag!

Charge your devices, pack some extra batteries, and you too can make flying an enjoyable experience!

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