Flying in airplanes may cause discomfort – whether it be the long lines through security, the rapid changes in air pressure when the plane is taking off or landing, or the obnoxious roar of the engine when you’re trying to get to sleep. While taking medicine, chewing gum, or yawning, to relieve pressure from the ears may help prevent or reduce this discomfort, listening to music with the best headphones helps wonders in other ways, for your mental state. Listening to music soothes and helps people calm down, especially when they encounter turbulence in-flight. It also helps the passenger get through the flight by blocking off aircraft engine noise, crying children, and the like.

Our Picks

Make & Model
Bose QuietControl 30
AKG K490
Bose QuietComfort 25
PSB M4U 2
Make & Model
Bose QuietControl 30
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Make & Model
AKG K490
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Price
Make & Model
Bose QuietComfort 25
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Make & Model
PSB M4U 2
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Make Flying A Breeze With First-Class Headphones

Of course, if you want to listen to relaxing music, you must find yourself the best headphones for airplane travel. Here are some things to consider before buying headphones for your next trip.

  • Sound Quality. Sound reproduction, clarity, depth, and balance are some of the qualities that make a sound good. When buying headphones, consider the sound by testing them at the store. The sound should give an accurate treble (highest pitch of sound) and bass (lowest pitch of sound) and be free of static.
  • Background Noise. Consider the sounds from the headphones because it can be extremely noisy during airplane rides. Good quality headphones can make trips that are too long or delayed bearable by listening to good songs or watching good movies while waiting. The best quality headphones will have features like noise reduction or noise cancellation, which more or less isolate background noise.
  • Portability. Traveling requires a lot of moving — from checking in to transiting and changing flights. Headphones should be easy to manage during these transitional periods and must be easy to pack, lightweight, and durable so they aren’t easily broken by travel-related wear and tear. Maybe you want to avoid a tangled mess and should go with Bluetooth.
  • Sound Leaking. Listening to music is good and all except when it’s heard from another set of headphones. Good quality headphones don’t leak sound and can even cancel out noise from your external environment. The best headphones for airplane travel will prevent your music from being heard throughout the cabin.
  • Price. The price of the headphones should be worth its quality, and fit the budget of the buyer. Generally, the pricier the headphones, the more features you should expect it to have, which includes the best quality sound.
  • Comfort and Style. Buying headphones also means knowing that it goes well with one’s style. In-ear headphones may be a bit of a bother when it comes to comfort, but it offers better noise reduction and cancellation. Over-the-ear headphones may seem a bit off, style-wise, but it offers more comfort and less strain to the inner ear.

 Best Travel Headphones Complete Guide

Headphones for Airplane Travel vs. Average Headphones

Noise cancellation and noise reduction are the primary features of headphones specially designed for airplane travel. Traveling brings much discomfort because of loud modes of transportation, announcements at terminal areas, and noisy plane passengers. Having a nifty set of headphones that reduce background noise, isolate the sounds, and play music or movies gives the passenger some much needed comfort for a long trip.

Noise cancellation and noise isolation technology utilize microphones and high technology processors to create an opposite sound wave than the one being directly sent to the eardrum to cancel out sounds. The opposite wave is sent by the headphone’s driver or processor (which is like the computer’s motherboard) and cancels the sounding wave from external environments. In an airplane traveler’s case, it would cancel out the sound of the aircraft’s engine. However, this technology isn’t perfect as different frequencies of sound differ in ways to cancel out various sounds. Low, steady sounds such as the aircraft’s engine are easy to cancel out, while high-pitched, high frequency, and transient sounds are not as easy to manage.

Headphones for airplane travel also have to be more comfortable than the average products since they will be inside or covering the ears during traveling — and longer than usual at that. They also have to be highly portable because of the fast-paced action that comes with traveling. These headphones have to have the durability to withstand being lugged around from place to place due to the nature of traveling. They also have to have good sound quality because who likes a set of headphones that have static or uneven volumes for each ear when listening to songs or watching movies?

Ultimately, choosing the headphones best suited for a traveler is all up to the user’s preferences. So, the most important thing is to prioritize what is important for him or her before choosing good quality headphones for airplane travel.

What Are The Best Headphones For Travel?

1. Bose QuietControl 30 Review

Bose Quietcontrol 30 Wireless Headphones, Noise Cancelling - Black
 

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The Bose QuietControl 30 headphones are the best headphones for air travel because of its in-ear noise cancellation that not only blocks out aircraft engine noise, but also give the user control over how they listen in a wide variety of environments. Their “full-noise reduction” mode silence all sorts of sounds through StayHear+ tips that physically blocks noise; while Acoustic Noise Cancelling technology electronically softens what wasn’t caught. Its “alert” mode lets in some noise during times it is needed such as commuting using public transportation, waiting for important calls, or listening to announcements, etc. All it takes is a click of a button and the modes switch from one to another.

“..the sound produced… is an impressive lifelike digital audio performance…which give these earphones depth and balance…”

True to the Bose brand, the sound produced by Bose QuietComfort 20i is an impressive lifelike digital audio performance. This is because of its TriPort technology and Active EQ, which give these earphones depth and balance, thus making the music sound crystal clear.

It is also very comfortable as StayHear+ tips make sure that these in-ear headphones are a soft and secure fit to the user’s ears without having to force it in initially, or when trying to make it stay in place. Its cone shape spreads evenly over the ears to achieve maximum comfort and creates a seal, which adds to the noise cancellation that this brand of headphones is known for.

The Bose QC20i is equipped with a four-button control system that increases volume, controls music, and has voice commands, all in the hands of its user. There is an easy-to-use slider on the control module to switch on or off the noise cancellation feature. The inline remote and microphone also contain the “alert” mode and the call, answer, and end buttons. This specific pair of headphones is best suited for Apple products such as iPods, iPhones, and iPads. If you plan to use your earphones with other devices, consider going with the Bose QuietComfort 20‘s instead.

2. AKG K490 Review

AKG K490NC High-Performance Active Noise-Cancelling Headphones
 

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While Bose may have led the way with modern improvement and innovation of noise-cancelling headphones, the AKG K490 does an excellent job competing with the Bose headphone series. Frequent travelers are often in need of high-quality noise-cancellation and this is exactly what the K490 offers. Another feature that helps stand this headphone apart from the rest: the K490 charges with a USB cable. No more snapping parts of your headphone apart or replacing an old battery. Simply plug your USB into a compatible device and the rest is easy.

Audio quality is very good in nearly all aspects. The mids and highs are crystal clear and are never overpowered by the heavy-hitting bass. Overall, music is delivered with power and some oomph. Like to listen to your music loud? So do we. The AKG K490 never muddles, cracks or distorts at high volume – an excellent combination when paired with noise-cancelling technology.

Like some other top competitors, AKG gives you the option of listening in passive or active modes in case the battery is depleted. The K490 is one of the few headphones out there that sounds exactly the same with and without noise-cancellation turned on. Something else we thought was important to mention – the AKG K490 is rather quiet in terms of noise cancelling circuitry (little if any hiss at all).

Comfort is another priority when dealing with potential travel headphones. Weighing in at just over 5 ounces, the AKG K490 is a very comfortable wear. The ear pads are sumptuous and soft to the touch. The headband is equally luxurious and easily adjustable to fit all head shapes.

If you are looking to get away from Bose and want a noise-cancelling headphone with a lower price tag of higher quality, the AKG K490 is an excellent choice. The noise-cancelling technology does exactly what it is supposed to, and quietly with very little hiss. The bass, mids and highs are powerful and attentive to detail. To top it off, the K490 is some of the lightest and most comfortable headphones we’ve had the chance to review.

3. Bose QuietComfort 25 Review

Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones for Apple...
 

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The Bose QuietComfort 25 is more often than not the go-to choice for noise-cancelling travel headphones. How did this come to be? Well, the QuietComfort 25 is impressive in many aspects, including comfort, sound quality, noise-canceling technology and portability.

Bose has brought comfort to a new level with the QuietComfort 25. The headband is covered in a durable yet soft fabric that is often found in “high-end automotive applications”. The ear cups utilize a hinge made of cast-zinc and are built with soft leather cushions with a supple feel. Without cable, the Bose QuietComfort 25 weighs less than 7 ounces – not the lightest headphone on our list but not the heaviest either.

The headphone is powered with a single AAA battery, which lasts for as long as 35 hours continuous use. Additionally, the QC25 will continue to play music without battery power. This is a much-needed feature in order to compete with the ever-expanding and improving noise-cancelling headphones on the market.

Sound quality is excellent overall and has an exciting feel when listening to the music. The bass is deep and direct – overall very forceful. The mids and highs are detailed and enjoyable to listen to. The Bose QuietComfort 25 adds a bit of oomph to the music, so those audiophiles who are strictly after accuracy should look elsewhere. In fact, those with accuracy in mind should steer clear from noise-cancelling headphones altogether as they tend to add their own unique spin to the sound they produce.

The Bose QuietComfort 25 is one of our all time favorites from Bose, which brings to the table a nice balance of comfort and design quality, with exciting sound, portability and noise-cancelling circuitry. While not the most inexpensive headphone on the list, the QuietComfort 25 does a good job with delivering what should be expected out of a quality travel headphone.

4. PSB M4U 2 Review

PSB M4U-2 Noise Cancelling Over-Ear Headphones - Black
 

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The PSB M4U 2 headphones are some of the priciest on this list but for good reason. They come equipped with top-of-the-line noise-cancelling technology and continue to sound exceptional long after the batteries have run out – not to mention they are very comfortable to use.

Compared to other full sized over-ear headphones, the M4U 2 is relatively compact. As we mentioned earlier, they are certainly some of the more expensive noise-cancelling headphones on the market, but they are also some of the best sounding. There is a near-perfect balance when it comes to the lows, mids, and highs, and all genres of music sound great. Those of you looking for the best sound you can find in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, the PSB M4U 2 is where its at.

It is important to note that while the noise-cancelling technology is top-notch, we do find the Bose QuietComfort 25 reviewed above to excel in that regard. The M4U 2 utilizes a total of four noise-cancelling microphones (2 per ear), allowing for higher quality and more accurate processing of external noise compared to most other competition.

The earpads are very comfortable and the design is sturdily built. The gyro-suspended earcup mounting is a sophisticated piece of technology on its own. This allows the earpads to swivel both horizontally and vertically, resulting in an unusually pleasant fit. Metal hinges built into the headband allow the headphones to fold up into a more compact shape that easily fits right into the included carrying case (perfect for travel).

While not exactly audiophile-oriented in their sound signature (not intended to be as accurate as possible), the PSB M4U 2 is the perfect example of a noise-cancelling headphone that comfortably produces audiophile-quality music in a compact design. These headphones do add a bit of extra oomph in the bass and some zest to the mid-highs that is exciting to listen to, and separates it from a strictly audiophile-oriented design. If you have the extra money to purchase a quality headphone, the PSB M4U 2 is an excellent option for the frequent traveler.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]