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 sleeping like one in no time. We all know the free airline headphones are generally unimpressive and do nothing to cancel noise or drown out the conversations of other passengers. These are our top picks for quality headphones from a reputable manufacturer to make your flights as smooth as possible.

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Amazon Picks: Best Headphones

SaleBestseller No. 1
Apple EarPods with Lightning Connector - White
  • Unlike traditional, circular earbuds, the design of the EarPods is defined by the geometry of the ear which makes them more comfortable for more people than any other earbud-style headphones
  • The speakers inside the EarPods have been engineered to maximize sound output and minimize sound loss, which means you get high-quality audio
  • The EarPods with lightning connector also include a built-in remote that lets you adjust the volume, control the playback of music and video, and answer or end calls with a pinch of the cord
  • Works with all devices that have a lightning connector and support iOS 10 or later, including iPod touch, iPad, and iPhone
Bestseller No. 2
Sony ZX Series Wired On-Ear Headphones, Black MDR-ZX110
61,212 Reviews
Sony ZX Series Wired On-Ear Headphones, Black MDR-ZX110
  • Lightweight 1.38 in neodymium dynamic drivers deliver a punchy, rhythmic response to even the most demanding tracks. Driver Unit: Dome type
  • The swiveling earcup design allows easy storage when you’re not using them, and enhances portability when you’re traveling
  • Cushioned earpads for total comfort and enfolding closed-back design seals in sound
  • The wide frequency range—spanning 12 Hz to 22 kHz—delivers deep bass, rich midrange, and soaring highs
  • Plug: L-shaped stereo mini plug 3.5mm
SaleBestseller No. 3
Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones - Apple W1 Headphone Chip, Class 1 Bluetooth, 40 Hours of Listening Time, Built-in Microphone - Black (Latest Model)
34,483 Reviews
Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones - Apple W1 Headphone Chip, Class 1 Bluetooth, 40 Hours of Listening Time, Built-in Microphone - Black (Latest Model)
  • High-performance wireless Bluetooth headphones in black
  • Features the Apple W1 chip and Class 1 wireless Bluetooth connectivity
  • With up to 40 hours of battery life, Beats Solo3 wireless is your perfect everyday headphone
  • Compatible with iOS and Android devices
  • With Fast Fuel, 5 minutes of charging gives you 3 hours of playback when battery is low

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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 Rose Gold.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, Noise-Cancelling, with Alexa Voice Control - Black
51,445 Reviews
Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, Noise-Cancelling, with Alexa Voice Control - Black
  • Three levels of world-class noise cancellation for better listening experience in any environment
  • Alexa-enabled for voice access to music, information, and more
  • Noise-rejecting dual-microphone system for clear sound and voice pick-up
  • Balanced audio performance at any volume
  • Hassle-free Bluetooth pairing, personalized settings, access to future updates, and more through the Bose connect app. USB cable: 12 inch

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

Plantronics BackBeat PRO+ Wireless Noise Canceling Hi-Fi Headphones
89 Reviews
Plantronics BackBeat PRO+ Wireless Noise Canceling Hi-Fi Headphones
  • NOISE-CANCELING HEADPHONES: Block out background noise while working, relaxing, and traveling with on-demand active noise canceling technology.
  • MULTIPLE DEVICE SYNC TECHNOLOGY: Listen to a movie on your tablet and quickly answer the call on your smartphone; these headphones are compatible with all smart devices including iPhone, iPad, and Droid devices.
  • HIGH QUALITY AUDIO: Rich and lifelike audio delivering rich bass, crisp high, and natural mid tones through extremely comfortable headphones.
  • LONG LASTING BATTERY LIFE: The Plantronics technology offers up to 24 hours of listening while providing 330 feet of Bluetooth range.
  • COMFORT: Perfect travel and in-flight headphones include pillow soft ear cups to provide lasting comfort while canceling and isolating background noise.

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.

Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones WH1000XM2: Over Ear Wireless Bluetooth Headphones with Microphone - Hi Res Audio and Active Sound Cancellation - Gold (2017 model)
2,120 Reviews
Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones WH1000XM2: Over Ear Wireless Bluetooth Headphones with Microphone - Hi Res Audio and Active Sound Cancellation - Gold (2017 model)
  • DIGITAL NOISE CANCELATION: Industry leading noise canceling eliminates distracting background noises
  • SMART LISTENING: Quickly detects your activity to automatically adjust the ambient sounds you hear
  • QUICK ATTENTION MODE: Cover the right ear cup to turn down your music for instant, easy conversation
  • TOUCH CONTROL: Skip a track, change the volume and take or make calls just by touching a headphone
  • FAST CHARGING: Enjoy up to 30 hrs of cordless NC and a 10 min quick charge for 70 more mins of play

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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