The Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones for Airplanes

Noise-cancelling headphones are perfect travelling companions for those who fly. They do not cancel all noise around you, but talking noises are reduced. The headphones' key technological property is that they create their own frequency to cancel out the electronic and engine noises associated with flying. If you've ever been seated near an engine while flying you know that to remove this loud and annoying hum can totally change the flight and allow you to get rest or reduce flight anxiety. Understanding which headphones are the best can help you make your trip a better experience .

Things to Look For

When shopping for a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones, the first thing to consider is how the headphones are powered. The best choice is a pair that is charged by electricity. Most airports and planes have some form of electric outlet for a quick charge. This is much easier than constantly removing batteries in your headset or purchasing expensive ones at the airport. Although bud-style headsets are easy to carry and proclaim to be noise-cancelling, the best headphones are the larger over-the-ear style. These look bulky but they do the job. If you are determined on getting the lesser-quality ear buds, make sure that they are really noise-cancelling and not noise reduction, which simply means that the ear canal is blocked by the device and reduces noise.


Because noise-cancelling headphones have an innate technology that creates the cancelling of low-frequency noises, they are not as cheap to produce as standard headphones. This makes a good pair quite expensive in comparison. Don't be put off by this. Remember, they are not basic headphones. The headphone can become more expensive depending on the technology. If your headphones use cancelling foam to do the job, it will be on the lower end of the price range. These types of headphones can run from £65 to £130. If your headphones use digital chip technology to emit counteracting hums, it will be more pricey. Expect to pay £130 to 400. While not recommended, the ear buds are cheaper and can range from £32 to £97 depending on the brand.

Popular Brands

Bose is well known and has a long consumer history of making quality audio equipment. The Bose Quiet Comfort 15 is an expensive model and will cost you about £195. It also runs on batteries, so heed the prior warnings if you choose to go this route. Another brand becoming popular is the Monster Beats Dr. Dre headset, also at £195. Rising in popularity as celebrities and sports figures have been seen wearing them, the Monster Beats are still high-quality headphones. A third option would be the Creative Aurvana X-Fi headphones, which range from £117 to £143. What is unique about them is the ear covers are extra padded and oversized to do a good job at reducing outside noises as well as their noise-reduction capabilities.

Warranty Considerations

These types of headphones are expensive and are an investment. Make sure that you check the warranty information on any headsets that you are considering. Most will have a standard 30-day return and repair warranty. If you are a frequent traveller you might want to look into purchasing an extended warranty to further protect your investment against damages. These types of warranties are easier to obtain when you purchase your headset direct from a dealer or from an electronics store. You may not be able to get an extended warranty from online options so be careful of this.

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About the Author

Spencer Hope Davis has been covering topics such as work balance, travel and health since 2001. An alumna of Cleveland State University and Kent State University, Davis earned a bachelor's degree in sociology and a master's degree in justice studies.