Best headphones for air travel – complete guide 2021

Headphones for air travel

Are you a travel junkie and a music enthusiast? Then chances are that you never forget to carry your music player and headphones along with you during your enchanting trips.

Today we would like to address the problem of selecting the best headphone for air travel. the type of headphones preferred to be used in-flight or inside an airplane is a bit different; or I should say – they should be equipped with the most necessary feature which may not be required otherwise (but good to have) – which is noise cancellation or external noise isolation. Also, if you love to hear the jet engine roar and the fellow passenger scream, you can get the Bone Conduction Headphones for yourself.

The sound of the jets of an airplane could be very intimidating and the continuous buzzing causes irritation or headache to many. You also lose on the clarity and the quality of music/sound you want to listen to. So, we are here for identifying the best headphones for flying (no you need not be a pilot :)) let’s dig into the problems, solutions and selection criteria of choosing the best headphones for airplane travel.

Problem set and solution:

Best headphones for air travel – complete guide 2021_audiowavegeek

Surrounding noise reduction

this is a major element to look at here, first, we must understand what is the difference between noise isolating and noise cancellation headphones. For air travel, we must choose noise cancellation headphones as they cancel out of the surrounding noise (Jet taking off and landing, people snoring, people talking etc.).

Whereas noise isolating headphones doesn’t perform as good as the noise canceling headphones. However, the snug fit provided by noise isolating headphones could be a good choice too at decent prices

The working principle behind the noise cancellation is that there is a mic on the outside of the headphone cup which picks up the ambient noise and produces the out of phase sound to that thus canceling/neutralizing the ambient noise. They are better suitable for canceling low-frequency sounds though like a jet engine humming noise.


Although it’s a personal preference whether to go for over the ear or in-ear type of earphones, it is essential to choose as per your travel style or requirement. In-ear earphones are less bulky and are easy to pack too, whereas the high-end over-the-ear headphones create a larger sound stage and could give you an immersive listening experience.


Comfort to me is of prime importance during travel so that I can spend more time exploring places without any stress or strain. As you might be using these earphones for a longer period. It is advisable to look for a comfortable pair for yourself or you can later get additional foam pads that suit your ear shape.

Battery life

you might always not be having access to the power source to charge your headphones, therefore it is critical to have a pair with good battery backup. Look for at least 12+ hours of wireless playback period. On the other hand, you can buy replacement batteries to carry-along. Most of these headphones come with a standard audio cable to make them wired if the battery dies.


During travel, you always want to carry compact and lightweight items along with you. Better choose small form factor, foldable, and preferably headphones with non-proprietary peripheral inputs.

Carry case

It’s always a good idea to have a carry case for your earphones or headphones, a hard sell case is preferable so that you pack your music gear and throw them inside your baggage without even worrying about the physical damage.


Accessories like airplane adapter come in handy if you want to use your headphone with the audio out socket provide in the seat, though it comes as a standard with most of the expensive noise-canceling headphones, otherwise it is readily available in the market for you to buy. Also, you can purchase the audio cable for your wireless headphones, just in case you run out of battery and in dire need to listen to your favorite song to replenish yourself.

airplane audio adapter

Replacement Audio cable for wireless headphones


The exclusive feature comes at an exclusive price, features like active noise cancellation are generally found in slightly premier headphones but look at it as an investment for a better quality of music listening, you live once – don’t you!

Our recommendations:

We have further listed a few “best headphones for airplane travel” that have proven their existence for some time now.

1. Bose Noise Cancelling Wireless Bluetooth Headphones 700


The best of the lot and evergreen Bose Quiet Comfort series has been a favorite for many for a long. Then comes the 700 after a long gap and started capturing the market for Bose which was slipping away to Sony (somehow it still do with Sony´s WH-1000XM4 introduction, but that´s my personal opinion). They don’t disappoint at this price level (still reasonable if we compare it to the Apple AirPods Max). Also comes with excellent noise cancellation performance and solid built quality.

2. Sony WH-1000XM4


Sony WH-1000XM4 is a beast of headphones and stands solid with Bose QC 35II and Bose 700 in every respect. Solid sound quality and performance (including good bass output) is the forte here. Fortunately, we get a chance to test them at the airport recently, definitely recommended.

3. Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H4


Like Style – go for Bang and Olufsens, they are like LV of the audiophile world. They just look nothing less than awesome and performs excellently too. They do demand a dress code :).

Read More:

4. Bose QuietControl 30 Wireless Headphones


Cool and compact is the phrase for Bose QC 30, the neckband design is a fashion statement these days and these perform very well while looking good. They are easy to carry and maneuver around with, can be used as sports earphones too, works well with running and outdoor activities (we don’t recommend noise isolation/ canceling functions to be used while running or cycling on the road)

5. Sennheiser HD 380 PRO Headphones


If you are looking for a decently priced set of headphones, you cannot go wrong with Sennheiser HD 380 PRO. We can confidently put them in the value for money segment. Decent-sized ear-cups sit comfortably well on your ears and don’t hurt for a longer duration.

Until next time

Appreciate your response and comments if you have had any experience with the above-mentioned headphones as well. We hope you get a good listening experience with these beautiful beasts. We have realized over time that noise cancellation has proven to be one of the brilliant technological advancements in the history of audio products and we really appreciate it regardless of the use case of using it during air travel.

Music touches your soul and to keep your soul happy, it is a good idea for sure. Happy listening!!!!

Also visit this link for more information: Best Wireless headphones of all times


  1. I am really liking the Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones. I have a bit of a hearing problem myself, so having good earphones that cancel out any other noise is something that I have to have for sure. They also look so comfortable. I don’t like the small buds that just go in the ear. I still feel that outside noise overtakes what I am hearing thru the buds. Again, this may be because I don’t have good hearing to begin with. Would you say this is a good pair for someone that is hard of hearing, or is there another pair you recommend?

    1. Bose QC series is definitely good. I would like you take a go at either of these Bose QC 35 and Sony MDR-1000x. Both of these are brilliant pairs for cancelling noise and providing comfort to your ears for prolong usage.

  2. Thanks! I was looking for a good reliable set of headphones for a frequent traveller like me.
    This helps for sure!

  3. I am a big fan of Bose but I am glad you also recommended the Sennheiser HD 380 PRO Headphones. I know Bose can be a bit expensive so it nice to have an alternative with good quality.

    I just took a long trip from California to the Philippines and wish I would have seen this article sooner. But I definitely will be taking advantage of your recommendation prior to my return flight. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I’ve used the Sennheiser HD and they are worth the spend if you like good sound.
    I’m super keen to try the Bose out.
    Thanks for sharing these reviews.

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