The best headphones for plane travel will help you pass the time during a flight by listening to music or watching a movie, and most importantly, drowning out all the surrounding noise. Baby on board? No worries, our top headphone picks will have you be the one sleeping like a baby in no time. We all know the headphones given for free by airlines are generally unimpressive and often fail to drown out the conversations of other passengers, so we recommend purchasing a quality pair of headphones from a reputable manufacturer to make your flights as smooth as possible.

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1. Bose QuietComfort 35 II

Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II) Wireless Headphones, Noise Cancelling, with Alexa voice control. Available in Black, Silver and Midnight Blue.

Voice Activation

Bose’s QuietComfort 35 II headphones boast voice activation technology. When you update your phone’s software using the Bose Connect app, you will be able to use Alexa to navigate songs and videos with your voice. The dual-microphone system through which this is possible also comes in handy when making and taking phone calls as it grants the wearer clear communication as long as a connection can be established.


The Bose QuietComfort 35 II are wireless headphones, which is beneficial in traveling as it eliminates the risk of cables becoming tangled in your carry on. These headphones boast a range of 9 meters (30 feet), so it is extremely unlikely you are going to experience any difficulty connecting them to your audio source. These headphones also feature a wired mode and can be connected to your smartphone, tablet, or laptop through the AUX cable which comes included with every purchase.

Long Battery Life

If you’re preparing for a long-haul flight, you should be certain to choose a pair of headphones with a long battery life. The Bose QuietComfort 35 II is one such pair of headphones. Once they have been fully charged, these headphones can be used for up to 20 hours in wireless mode. Use them in wired mode, however, and their play time rises even higher to a total of 40 hours.

Pros Bose QuietComfort 35 II

  • Noise cancelling
  • Bose Connect app
  • Music-sharing capabilities

Cons Bose QuietComfort 35 II

  • Expensive
  • Tight fit
  • No noise cancellation during calls

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2. Plantronics BackBeat PRO

Plantronics BackBeat PRO Wireless Noise Canceling Hi-Fi Headphones with Mic – Compatible with iPhone, iPad, Android, and Other Smart Devices

Noise Cancellation

Any set of headphones intended for use during a flight should be capable of drowning out the noise made by your fellow passengers. Plantronics’ BackBeat PRO headphones boast ANC (Active Noise Canceling), which can be controlled through an adjustable OpenMic feature. ANC can be relied upon to minimize distractions when listening to music or watching a video, but it can also be utilized without audio, allowing the wearer to get a peaceful nap while they wait for their plane to reach its destination.


Much like the previously examined offering from Bose, the Plantronics BackBeat PRO headphones are wireless. In fact, these headphones boast a far more impressive range than their Bose alternatives and are effective up to 100 meters (330 feet). Plantronics also includes an AUX with every purchase of its BackBeat PRO headphones, allowing the user to listen in Wired mode should they wish to do so.

Power Saving

With up to 24 hours of continuous music streaming when fully charged, the Plantronics BackBeat PRO headphones boast an undeniably impressive battery life. They are also set apart from competing models through their various methods of power conservation. For example, these headphones offer a standby time of up to 21 days, so you won’t have to worry about being left without a means of listening to your music even if you forgot to pack your charger before heading for the airport. As if that wasn’t enough, the Plantronics BackBeat PRO headphones also boast a DeepSleep hibernation mode of up to six months.

Pros Plantronics BackBeat PRO

  • Affordable
  • LED battery meter
  • Dual connectivity

Cons Plantronics BackBeat PRO

  • Small ear pads
  • Poor customer service
  • Unclear instruction manual

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3. Sony WH-1000XM2

Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones: Over Ear Wireless Bluetooth Headphones with Microphone – Hi Res Audio and Active Sound Cancellation. Available in Black and Gold.

Smart Listening

The Sony WH-1000XM2 headphones boast the brand’s unique Smart Listening technology. Smart Listening uses Adaptive Sound Control to determine the surroundings of the listener and adjust the volume of the headphones accordingly. This Smart Listening technology works in conjunction with the noise-canceling capabilities of these headphones to ensure the wearer hears every note of their music and every syllable of dialogue in their videos regardless of what is going on around them.

Voice Activation

The Sony WH-1000XM2 headphones boast voice activation. When paired with an Android or Apple device, they can be controlled by your voice alone, no hands needed. This is particularly advantageous if you are carrying a number of bags or suitcases and do not have any free hands to move from song to song as you journey through the airport to your gate.

Touch Control

One of the most unique features of the Sony WH-1000XM2 headphones is their touch control function. When a change in volume is needed immediately, such as when an airport employee approaches you, you can turn down your music by simply touching the right ear of your headphones, eliminating the need for fumbling through your pocket to retrieve your phone. Similarly, wearers can move from one song to the next or even make a call simply by touching the appropriate headphone in the corresponding spot.

Pros Sony WH-1000XM2

  • Portable case included
  • Noise cancellation
  • Long battery life

Cons Sony WH-1000XM2

  • Expensive
  • Only compatible with high-resolution audio in Wired mode
  • Poor customer service

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Conclusion Best Headphones for Plane Travel

Over the years, Sony has developed something of a reputation for poor customer service, so many who purchase the brand’s WH-1000XM2 headphones find it difficult to obtain a refund or replacement when one is necessary. That being said, a refund or replacement is very rarely necessary as these headphones boast expert craftsmanship, along with superior noise cancellation, voice activation, and controls which are both innovative and intuitive. If you have a lot of room in your budget, we suggest going with a pair of Sony’s WH-1000XM2.

However, if you would like to keep costs to a minimum, the BackBeat PRO headphones from Plantronics are most definitely the way to go. Despite their comparatively low price, these headphones offer all the features the casual travel needs for a comfortable flight, such as Active Noise Canceling, various power saving modes, and dual device connectivity.

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