How to Watch Movies on Plane Without WIFI

It’s hard to sleep on the plane. It’s excruciatingly boring and exhausting. Imagine you’re on a 19-hour flight from Tokyo to New York. You’ve already gone through the in-flight entertainment options; a lot of them either you’ve already seen, or you just don’t like. Your butt is swelling, you can’t move, and you can’t sleep.

Woman sitting inside plane

Either you’ll call the flight attendant and ask her to bring you loads of mini liquor bottles or you turn your phone or tablet into a streaming piece of heaven with all the TV series or movies you’re itching to binge. However, there’s no Wi-Fi or Internet on the plane.

Video streaming giants to the rescue

Thanks to the giants of video streaming services: Netflix, Amazon, and HBO, you can now skip the often-times outdated video content available on the plane and choose to binge on your favorite TV shows and movies available on any of the three video streaming apps.

With a little tweak and/or subscription to their offline mode feature, you can unlock the ability to turn your phone, tablet, or laptop into an in-flight entertainment device. Enjoy all the movies and TV shows you want for the whole duration of your flight. Here’s how:

Watch shows or movies via Netflix offline

Netflix just recently launched a wonderful feature of their video-streaming service: the option to download content for offline use. This means that you won’t need to connect to the Internet to binge-watch your TV shows or movies. This feature recently came in November of 2016 and has allowed quite a number of select TV shows and movies.

Netflix on a Macbook

This Netflix feature is available on iOS 9 and later versions, Android OS version 4.4.2 and up, and Windows 10 OS. Mac OS is still in development and will be announced soon. This is absolutely fantastic and so much more convenient, especially when you’re stuck on a plane for 19 hours.

The TV shows and movies available for download and offline viewing are still limited. However, the catalog still offers great shows, including Orange is the New Black and Narcos. There’s still a ton of choices to binge to get you occupied throughout the whole flight.

How to do this is practically simple. You only need to have the Netflix app on your phone, tablet, or even the computer. On the menu of the Netflix app that’s found on the home screen, find and select the option, “Available for Download”. You’ll be shown a list of all the contents available for you to download on your device and watch offline or even when there’s no Internet.

There’s also a convenient search box for you to type in your preferred movie or TV show to download if you don’t like to keep swiping your fingers up to scroll down from the list. Whatever content you’ll download will be directly saved into the “My Downloads” tab of the app.

Don’t forget to do this before you get into the plane or lose access to any Internet service. Otherwise, you won’t be able to enjoy this awesome feature. There’s one caveat to this though: the downloaded content will eat up storage in your device. That said, it pays to regularly clean up the storage to give room for any content you’ll download.

Offline video streaming via the Amazon Video app

Amazon, on the other hand, was way ahead of its competition – even farther ahead of Netflix. The video streaming service arm of Amazon offered their offline feature 4 years ago in 2015. And even before that year for Amazon Fire subscribers. Amazon’s offline feature offers an amazing array of content. Though limited compared to its full-suite of videos available for streaming, the offline catalog still features amazing titles, such as The Man in the High Castle and Transparent.

This offline feature of Amazon can be accessed via their Amazon Video app. The Amazon Video app is compatible with both Android and iOS devices. Unfortunately, it’s yet ready on laptops or desktops. On the app itself, you’ll find an arrow icon pointing downward. This icon can be seen next to the TV show or movie titles. You can browse through different TV show and movie titles and then click on the downward arrow icon to download the content on your device. This will be stored into the Downloads tab in the app.

Unlike Netflix, the Amazon Video app doesn’t have the option to let you only see those titles available for offline viewing. Instead, you’ll have to browse through the titles and check if there’s a downward icon or not. However, similar to how the Netflix app works, every title you downloaded will eat up storage on your device. That said, it’s best to make sure there’s enough room for content on your device.

HBO + mobile video recording app

While HBO doesn’t offer any offline video streaming feature compared to Netflix and Amazon, there’s actually an easy way to continue watching your favorite HBO titles on a plane without Wi-Fi. And that’s through legal recording applications and programs that are available online.

There are free and paid recording programs you can use to record HBO content, and have it stored on your phone or tablet. Think of it as a modern and high-tech version of DVRs. It’s legal, sometimes it’s free, sometimes it’s paid, but the most important thing is you can record real-time. You can save it on your mobile phone or tablet and play it at any time you want.

So, if you’re scheduled for a long haul up in the air, better stock up on recorded HBO titles using programs, such as PlayOn. This program is both available to iOS and Android devices. It’s free to download and costs only 99 cents for every recording. This becomes extremely convenient as you’ll have your own legal copy of the HBO title you love, and you can watch it all you want while you’re stuck on a plane without Wi-Fi.


There’s plenty of ways to watch movies on a plane without Wi-Fi. You can practically turn your mobile phone, tablet, or even computers into a far better in-flight entertainment system than what’s available on most planes. All you need to do is get the correct apps or prepare while you’re still hooked to an Internet service.