You’re sitting in your tiny cramped airline seat, anticipating hours of boring inflight entertainment or trying to sleep upright. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could stream unlimited movies and shows from Netflix to pass the time?
Unfortunately, streaming video mid-flight is usually impossible with today’s in-flight WiFi limitations. But fear not – with the right preparation, you can still enjoy hours of your favorite Netflix content on planes with no internet connection required!
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know to watch downloaded Netflix movies and TV shows offline while flying. Follow our tips and tricks for accessing your Netflix library at 30,000 feet, even on planes without WiFi access.
Read on to learn how to create your own inflight Netflix experience and make flying (almost) enjoyable again.
What Exactly is Netflix? A Quick Introduction
For those not familiar, Netflix is the world’s most popular subscription streaming service, with over 200 million members worldwide. It gives users unlimited on-demand access to a massive library of movies, TV shows, documentaries, and more.
With a paid membership, you can stream unlimited ad-free content from Netflix on your smart TV, desktop computer, laptop, phone, tablet or other supported device with an internet connection. The service has revolutionized home entertainment since launching in 2007.
Netflix’s extensive collection includes Hollywood blockbusters, original critically acclaimed Netflix series, fascinating documentaries, fun reality shows, kid-friendly cartoons, and a rotating selection of popular licensed content. There’s always something new and exciting to discover.
The standard Netflix subscription currently costs $15.49 per month in the US after a recent price hike. You can choose plans with HD or Ultra HD streaming, and change or cancel your membership anytime.
How Downloading for Offline Viewing Works
So as you must already know about Netflix – it allows members to download select movies and shows to their device’s storage to watch offline later, without an internet connection needed.
This Netflix download feature is fantastic for plane travel when WiFi is not available. Anything saved for offline viewing will play back just fine in airplane mode after the download completes.
Downloading titles for offline usage is only possible through the mobile Netflix app on phones, tablets, and laptops. Here’s how the process works:
- Open the Netflix app on your device and ensure you’re connected to WiFi and logged in.
- Find a movie, episode, or other content you want to download using the search or browse functions.
- Tap the downward-facing download arrow icon next to the video title.
- Choose your preferred download video quality – Basic, Standard, or Higher. Do note that higher quality uses more storage.
- The download will begin automatically. Wait for it to reach 100%.
- The title will then be available for offline playback anytime, including on planes with no WiFi.
- To access downloaded content, open Netflix and select “Downloads” – play them just like streaming titles!
So by proactively downloading your favorite Netflix TV shows, kids content, documentaries and movies to your device before a flight, you can enjoy hours of free offline entertainment while in the air!
Which Devices Work for Downloading and Watching Netflix Offline?
To download and view Netflix videos offline on a plane, you will need:
- A smartphone, tablet, or laptop with enough storage space to save multiple titles. Modern devices usually have at least 32GB+ storage.
- The latest version of the Netflix app from the App Store or Play Store is installed. Make sure auto-update is enabled so you get the newest app functionality.
- An active Netflix streaming account subscription. Downloads are available globally on all membership tiers.
- A device that supports airplane mode to disable wireless connections during flight.
Here are the most popular devices used for offline Netflix viewing during flights:
iPhone: Requires iOS 9 or later. All models work including XS, XR, 11, 12, 13, 14.
Android Phones: Works on Android 5 or later phones. Flagship models like Galaxy, and Pixel are recommended.
Android Tablets: Supported on Android 5.0+. Popular choices include the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 or Kindle Fire.
iPads: iPadOS supports it. Great entertainment for kids on planes. All iPad models from Mini 5 and up.
Windows Laptops: Use the Netflix app from the Microsoft app store on any Windows 10 laptop.
Chromebooks: Install the Netflix app from the Google Play store, which requires Chrome OS version 75+.
While tablets and laptops are best for their larger screens ideal for movies, today’s bigger smartphones like the iPhone 13 Pro Max also work very well for streaming Netflix offline on short flights.
How Much Netflix Content is Available for Download?
Netflix has continuously expanded its downloadable library since the offline viewing feature launched in 2016. The amount of downloadable content varies by country and can change monthly.
However, there are typically thousands of popular movies, TV show episodes, kids’ titles, and Netflix originals available for download at any given time. Even though not every title may have offline viewing enabled, the selection is quite extensive covering all major content genres.
Some examples of popular downloadable Netflix content as of late 2022 include:
- Stranger Things
- The Crown
- Virgin River
- Cobra Kai
- The Mitchells vs The Machines
- Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous
- Breaking Bad
- The Watcher
- Top Gun
- Minions & Despicable Me Movies
- The Boss Baby
- Go Dog Go
- Workin Moms
- Floor is Lava
- Love is Blind
Netflix adds new movies and shows to its offline viewing lineup constantly. The selection is always improving with cult classics, Netflix originals and popular licensed content.
Pro Tip: Use the filters in the Netflix mobile app to find downloadable titles quickly. Apply filters like “Downloads”, “Movies” or “TV Shows” to your search.
How Many Titles Can I Download for Offline Playback?
The number of movie and TV show titles you can download to your device’s storage depends on:
- Available local storage space on your phone, tablet or laptop.
- Video resolution quality selected – higher quality uses more storage per download.
- Length of each video – movies use more gigabytes than a 30-minute episode.
As a general guideline based on average 1 hour TV show episodes downloading at Standard Definition quality:
16GB Phone/Tablet Storage = Approximately 20 episodes
32GB Phone/Tablet Storage = Approximately 40 episodes
64GB Phone Storage = Approximately 80 episodes
128GB Phone Storage = Approximately 160 episodes
250GB Laptop Storage = Approximately 400 episodes
1TB Laptop Storage = Approximately 2000 episodes
So in summary, the more local storage capacity your device has, the more Netflix videos you can download for offline viewing. Keep an eye on used storage as you add downloads.
How Do I Find Only Downloadable Titles on Netflix?
The Netflix app makes it easy to identify and filter just titles available for download and offline viewing:
On the Netflix Homepage – Scroll down and look for the “Downloads” section. This showcases trending movies and shows available to download.
During Search – Search for any keyword like “Comedy Movies” then select “Downloads” from the left sidebar filters to only see results available offline.
Within TV Shows/Movies Pages – Click into a Show or Movie details page. If downloadable, you will see the download icon.
Downloads Menu – Open your Netflix Profile > Downloads to see your full library of downloaded videos.
Using these filters is the easiest way to uncover all the content you can download and watch offline on the plane.
How Many Devices Can I Download On?
Netflix allows you to download videos for offline viewing on up to 5 different devices per account simultaneously. Devices can be deregistered and swapped out as needed over time.
So a family of 4 could have downloads on 2 phones, 2 tablets, and 1 laptop registered if they wanted. Just be sure to de-register devices you no longer use regularly to free up those download slots.
This flexibility means you can have your entire family’s devices pre-loaded with plenty of shows before a long flight or road trip. No one will get bored!
What Download Quality Should I Choose?
When downloading a movie or episode in the Netflix app, you have three video quality choices:
- Basic (lowest resolution, uses least storage)
- Standard (medium resolution, decent quality)
- Higher (best resolution, maximum storage used)
In general, Standard or Basic quality are fine for phones and tablets while Higher delivers the full HD experience on larger laptop screens.
Consider your device storage capacity and the length of your flight. An iPhone will need lower resolution downloads than an iPad with more space available. Long haul flights can handle Higher quality while quick trips may require smaller Basic file sizes to maximize your download library.
Test the different levels on your device to determine the best mix of quality and file size that matches your tastes. Videos download quickly on a fast WiFi network so you can experiment to find your optimal balance.
Tip: You can adjust the download video quality in Netflix settings if you want to change it later.
How Long Do Downloads Last on Netflix?
Downloaded videos from Netflix are available for playback offline (including on planes) as follows:
- Movies – 30 days from the download date
- TV Show episodes – 7 days from download
- Kids episodes – 7 days from download
- Certain content titles may have shorter available durations
Netflix downloads also have a 48-hour “Start Watching” window. This means you need to start playback of that downloaded video within 48 hours of downloading or it will automatically expire.
So make sure you begin viewing any movies or episodes within a couple days of downloading to avoid them getting automatically deleted.
The 30 and 7-day viewing windows encourage users to refresh their downloads and save new content regularly. However, the timeframes are ample for short trips and flights.
Can I Download Netflix Content to Watch Offline on Planes?
Yes! Downloading movies, TV shows and other content from Netflix to watch offline while flying is exactly what this app feature was designed for.
Thanks to download capabilities, you can now enjoy your own personal Netflix inflight entertainment system. Follow the steps and tips in this guide, and you’ll never run out of movies and episodes on even the longest flight.
Just make sure to disable wireless connections by enabling airplane mode on your device after takeoff. This prevents any background app data usage while streaming your downloaded videos in flight.
Sitting back and bingeing shows without WiFi is how to make those long hours in the sky feel not nearly as painful and boring.
Can I Stream Netflix With Inflight WiFi? Does it Work Well?
Some modern airplanes do offer onboard WiFi that allows internet connectivity while flying. Examples include:
- Gogo Inflight WiFi
- Southwest WiFi
- Delta Fly-Fi
- United WiFi
- American Airlines Inflight WiFi
If your flight provides WiFi, you can try streaming Netflix by:
- Connecting to the plane’s WiFi network using your device
- Paying any WiFi access fees if applicable
- Launching the Netflix app once connected
- Streaming any movie or show as you normally would over the internet connection
However,the major catch is that even when WiFi is available, inflight internet speeds are extremely slow and unreliable for streaming video. While some buffering-free playback is possible, performance is far from guaranteed.
Even the best inflight WiFi may only deliver 2-10Mbps speeds vs the 5-25Mbps Netflix recommends per stream. Speeds vary wildly depending on network congestion and other factors.
Therefore, downloading titles to your device beforehand is still the only foolproof way to ensure smooth Netflix playback while flying. Don’t count on spotty inflight WiFi for your entertainment.
Tips and Best Practices for Watching Netflix Downloads Inflight
If you follow our guide, getting your own inflight Netflix setup is totally achievable. Here are some additional technical tips to make the experience smooth:
Bring headphones: Pack wired or Bluetooth headphones. Bluetooth works on airplane mode once paired. Over-ear headphones block noise.
Adjust screen brightness: Dim screen brightness to 50% or lower to conserve battery life.
Disable cellular data: Turn on Airplane mode so the device is not wasting battery searching for signals.
Try a tablet: Large screens like iPad Pro 12.9 make viewing more immersive.
Bring backup battery: A portable charger extends the battery if watching multiple movies. Anker makes great battery packs.
Cache higher quality: If storage allows, choose Higher-quality downloads for the best view.
Check before takeoff: Verify all downloads completed successfully before taxiing.
Use Smart Downloads: Let Netflix automatically add recommended downloads to your device as you travel.
With the right gadgets and some planning, you can enjoy many hours of interrupted Netflix streaming while in the air.
Top Netflix Content to Download for Flights
Don’t waste time deciding what to watch mid-flight. Here are some top-rated must-download Netflix movies and TV shows to add to your offline queue before boarding:
- The Avengers (and all other Marvel Cinematic Universe films)
- The Dark Knight
- Jurassic World
- Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse
- Mission Impossible Series
- The Lion King
- Forrest Gump
- Stranger Things
- Breaking Bad
- The Witcher
- Virgin River
- Orange is the New Black
- Peaky Blinders
- The Queen’s Gambit
- Formula 1: Drive to Survive
- Our Planet
- Making a Murderer
- Last Chance U
Netflix Original Movies:
- Project Power
- The Old Guard
- Enola Holmes
- El Camino
- Always Be My Maybe
- Tall Girl
- The Irishman
- The Boss Baby
- Go Dog Go
- Spirit Riding Free
- Dragons: Rescue Riders
- Super Monsters
- Motown Magic
- Puss in Boots
Does Netflix Work On Airplane Mode?
Yes, if you have downloaded movies and TV shows ahead of time, you can watch them on your device while in airplane mode. The key is to use the download icon in the Netflix app to save content to your device’s storage before your flight. Then you can play the downloaded videos in airplane mode when internet is disabled.
How Do I Watch Movies On An Airplane?
To watch movies on an airplane, you will need to download them to your device in advance of your flight. Make sure your device supports airplane mode to disable wifi/cellular during the flight. Fully charge your device and headphones beforehand. Connect to the in-flight wifi if available and permitted by the airline. You can also use a portable battery pack for extended playback.
How Do I Download Netflix For Offline Viewing?
Open the Netflix app, connect to wifi, and find the movie or show you want to download. Tap the downward arrow icon next to the video title, select your preferred video quality, and wait for the download to complete. The content will then be available to watch offline including on airplanes.
Can I Watch Netflix Without the Internet On An Airplane?
Yes, you can watch Netflix movies, shows, etc. that you downloaded beforehand on your device while in airplane mode without needing an internet connection. Downloads allow you to watch Netflix offline including on airplanes with no wifi.
Is There A Way To Stream Netflix On A Plane?
Most airplanes do not provide in-flight wifi that would allow streaming Netflix. If your airline does offer Wi-Fi service, you can try connecting to it and streaming Netflix. However, inflight internet is typically too slow and unreliable for consistent streaming. Downloading Netflix content ahead of time is the better option.
Get Flight Ready With Netflix Offline Viewing!
We hope this guide provided you with all the tips, tricks and instructions you need to now enjoy downloading and watching Netflix offline on airplanes, even with no WiFi available.
With the right preparation using the Netflix mobile app, some headphones, and a charged device, you can have your own personal inflight Netflix entertainment system on any long flight.
Simply follow the steps to download your favorite movies, TV shows, and more to your phone, tablet or laptop before boarding. Get comfortable in your seat, start those downloads and enjoy an ad-free inflight Netflix experience that makes the hours fly by (pun intended).
You’ll never dread long trips again. Happy and safe travels!