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The Best Over-Ear Headphones for Long Flights in 2024

If you’ve ever been on a long flight, you know how noisy and uncomfortable it can be. The roar of the engines, the chatter of the passengers, the crying of the babies – all these can make your journey a nightmare. But what if you could tune out all the unwanted sounds and enjoy your favorite sounds, podcasts, or movies in peace? That’s where over-ear headphones come in handy.

In this article, we will help you find the best over-ear headphones for long flights, based on some key considerations such as noise cancellation, comfort, battery life, sound quality, and portability. We will also review some of the top picks in the market and give you some additional tips for using headphones on long flights.

Take A Quick Look at the Best Over-Ear Headphones for Long Flights to save your time

What features are important in headphones for long flights?

Noise Cancellation (ANC)

Noise cancellation, or active noise cancellation (ANC), is a technology that reduces the ambient noise around you by creating an opposite sound wave that cancels it out. This can significantly improve your listening experience on flights, as you can block out the engine noise, the cabin announcements, and the other passengers.

However, not all noise-canceling headphones are created equal. Some are more effective than others, depending on the type and level of noise they can cancel. A good way to measure the noise cancellation performance of headphones is by looking at the decibel (dB) reduction they can achieve. For example, some headphones can reduce noise by up to 30 dB, which means they can make a loud jet engine sound like a whisper.

Comfort

Comfort is another important factor to consider when choosing over-ear headphones for long flights. You don’t want to end up with sore ears or a headache after wearing them for hours. Therefore, you should look for headphones that have comfortable ear cups and headbands, that are made of soft and breathable materials, that are lightweight and adjustable, and that fit your head shape and size well.

Battery Life

Battery life is also crucial for long flights, as you don’t want to run out of juice in the middle of your entertainment. You should look for headphones that have a long battery life, preferably more than 20 hours, and that have features like quick charging or replaceable batteries. Some headphones also have a wired mode, which means you can use them with a cable if the battery dies.

Sound Quality

Sound quality is, of course, a subjective preference, but it can also affect your enjoyment of your headphones on long flights. You should look for headphones that have a sound signature that suits your taste, whether it’s balanced, bass-heavy, treble-heavy, or anything in between. You should also look for headphones that have features that enhance the sound quality, such as high-fidelity audio codecs, equalizer settings, or sound modes.

Portability

Portability is another factor to consider, as you want to be able to store and carry your headphones easily. You should look for headphones that have a foldable design and a compact carrying case, that are durable and resistant to damage, and that are easy to pack and unpack.

Top Picks for Best Over-Ear Headphones for Long Flights

Best Over-all Noise-cancelling headphones for long flights

NEW Bose QuietComfort ANC over-ear Headphones
Bose

NEW Bose QuietComfort Wireless

Pros
  • Best noise-cancelling
  • Great for long flights
  • Comfortable and well-built design
  • Rich, crisp audio
Cons
  • Expensive

For frequent flyers seeking the best noise cancellation available, the Bose QuietComfort Wireless headphones are a top contender.

key features

  • Industry-leading noise cancellation technology
  • Comfortable design with plush ear cups and adjustable headband
  • Voice control for hands-free operation
  • Clear microphone calls
  • 20-hour battery life with noise cancellation (40 hours without)

Their industry-leading technology effectively blocks out engine noise, crying babies, and other airplane distractions, allowing you to truly immerse yourself in your audio experience.

These comfortable headphones feature plush ear cups and an adjustable headband for extended wear without fatigue. Bose also integrates voice control, allowing you to access voice assistants like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa for hands-free control of your audios or calls.

Additionally, the Bose QuietComfort Wireless headphones boast an impressive 20-hour battery life with noise cancellation turned on, extending to 40 hours without, ensuring you won’t run out of power on even the longest flights.

Headphones with good battery life for long hours flying

Sony WH-1000XM5 The Best Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones for Long Flights
Sony

Sony WH-1000XM5

Pros
  • Multi Pairing at the same time
  • Good battery life
  • Comfortable
  • Noise-cancelling
  • Outstanding microphone
Cons
  • Larger carrying case
  • Price

key features

  • Industry-leading processor for powerful noise cancellation and enhanced sound quality
  • Speak-to-Chat feature for automatic music pausing
  • High-resolution audio support
  • Comfortable and secure fit
  • 30-hour battery life with noise cancellation (40 hours without)

Offering exceptional noise cancellation and sound quality, the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones are another excellent option for long flights. They boast an industry-leading processor that delivers powerful noise reduction and enhances audio quality.

Additionally, Sony’s Speak-to-Chat feature automatically pauses your audio when you start speaking, ensuring seamless conversation during your travels.

The WH-1000XM5 headphones feature a comfortable and secure fit, ideal for extended wear. They also support high-resolution audio, allowing you to enjoy lossless audio quality for an even more immersive listening experience.

With a 30-hour battery life with noise cancellation turned on and 40 hours without, you can be confident your headphones won’t run out of power during your flight.

Best Budget over ear headphones for long Flights

Soundcore by Anker Life Q30 Hybrid ANC Headphones
Soundcore by Anker

Soundcore by Anker Life Q30

Pros
  • Budget-friendly
  • Comfortable fit
  • Noise canceling
  • Good Battery life
Cons
  • May not have advanced features
  • No touch controls

key features

  • Decent noise cancellation for low-frequency noise
  • Hi-Res Audio certified for detailed sound
  • BassUp technology for enhanced bass
  • Customizable EQ for personalized sound preferences
  • Comfortable design with plush ear cups
  • 40-hour battery life with noise cancellation (60 hours without)

For budget-conscious travelers seeking a good pair of noise-canceling headphones, the Soundcore by Anker Life Q30 offer a compelling option. While the noise cancellation may not be as strong as the top contenders, it still does a decent job of blocking out low-frequency noise like engine hum, allowing you to enjoy your audio in relative peace.

These headphones boast Hi-Res Audio certification, ensuring detailed and clear sound reproduction. Additionally, Anker’s BassUp technology enhances bass for a more impactful listening experience. The Soundcore Life Q30 also feature a customizable EQ, allowing you to tailor the sound profile to your preferences.

Beyond the sound quality, these comfortable headphones offer a snug fit and plush ear cups for extended wearability.

They also boast an impressive 40-hour battery life with noise cancellation turned on, extending to a remarkable 60 hours without, ensuring you can listen to audio or podcasts throughout your entire journey without needing to recharge.

Best Wireless over-ear headphones for traveling

Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless
Sennheiser

Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless

Pros
  • Wireless convenience
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Comfortable fit and premium build
  • Over 60 hours of continuous battery life
Cons
  • May be pricey
  • No physical button controls

key feature

  • Good noise cancellation with Adaptive Noise Cancellation technology
  • Transparent Hearing mode for situational awareness
  • Excellent sound quality with rich and detailed audio
  • Comfortable design with plush ear cups and adjustable headband
  • Smart Control App for EQ customization and other features
  • 60-hour battery life with noise cancellation (68 hours without)

For travelers who prioritize both style and performance, the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless headphones are a great choice. They combine good noise cancellation capabilities with excellent sound quality, delivering rich and detailed audio that brings your movies, and podcasts to life.

These comfortable headphones feature plush ear cups and an adjustable headband, ensuring a comfortable fit for extended wear. Additionally, Sennheiser incorporates Adaptive Noise Cancellation, which automatically adjusts to your surroundings, effectively blocking out distractions without compromising situational awareness.

The MOMENTUM 4 Wireless headphones also feature a Transparent Hearing mode, allowing you to hear ambient sounds without taking them off, ideal for conversations or staying alert in unfamiliar environments.

Beyond these features, Sennheiser offers a Smart Control App that allows you to customize EQ settings, access Transparent Hearing mode adjustments, and manage other functionalities. With a remarkable 60-hour battery life with noise cancellation turned on, extending to an impressive 68 hours without, you can be confident these headphones will last throughout your travels and beyond.

Best headphones for airplane engine noise

Razer Barracuda Pro Wireless
Razer

Razer Barracuda Pro Wireless

Pros
  • Excellent noise cancellation
  • Good build quality
  • Sound quality
  • Nice battery life
Cons
  • No 3.5mm headphone jack

key features

  • Hybrid Active Noise Cancellation for effective noise reduction
  • Comfortable design with plush ear cups and adjustable headband
  • Auto-shutoff feature for battery conservation
  • Detachable microphone for clear communication
  • THX Spatial Audio for immersive listening
  • 40-hour battery life with RGB lighting (50 hours without)

While primarily designed for gamers, the Razer Barracuda Pro Wireless headphones also excel in blocking out airplane engine noise, making them a great option for frequent flyers seeking a versatile pair.

Their Hybrid Active Noise Cancellation combines feedforward and feedback ANC technologies, effectively reducing unwanted noise for a more peaceful listening experience. These comfortable headphones feature plush ear cups and an adjustable headband for extended wearability.

Additionally, Razer integrates an auto-shutoff feature that conserves battery life by automatically turning off the headphones when not in use. The Barracuda Pro Wireless headphones also come with a detachable microphone, ideal for clear communication during calls or online gaming sessions.

Beyond noise cancellation, these headphones offer THX Spatial Audio technology, creating an immersive listening experience for all your audio needs. With a 40-hour battery life with RGB lighting turned on (extending to 50 hours without), you can enjoy movies, games, or your favourite sounds throughout your flight without worrying about running out of power.

Headphones with long battery life for flying

Bose Headphones 700 over-ear wireless headphones
Bose

Bose 700 headphones

Pros
  • Long battery life
  • Active noise canceling
  • Sleek design
  • Sleek design
Cons
  • No folding hinges

key feature

  • Very good noise cancellation with adjustable levels
  • Aware Mode for situational awareness
  • Touch controls for convenient operation
  • Comfortable design with plush ear cups and adjustable headband
  • Voice control for hands-free functionality
  • 20-hour battery life

The Bose 700 headphones offer a compelling option for travelers seeking a balance between excellent noise cancellation, good sound quality, comfortable design, and versatile features. While not the absolute leader in any one category, they deliver a well-rounded performance that caters to a wide range of travel needs.

Bose equips the 700 headphones with their well-regarded noise cancellation technology, effectively blocking out engine noise, ambient chatter, and other airplane distractions. 

These headphones also feature Bose’s Aware Mode, allowing you to hear important announcements or conversations without taking them off. Additionally, integrated touch controls provide convenient access to volume, playback, and noise cancellation adjustments.

The Bose 700 headphones boast a comfortable design with plush ear cups and an adjustable headband for extended wearability. They also integrate voice control, allowing you to access voice assistants like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa for hands-free control of your audio, calls, or other functionalities. With a battery life of up to 20 hours, you can enjoy uninterrupted audio throughout most long flights.

Also: How to Travel with Headphones that Don’t Fold?

Additional Tips for Using Headphones on Long Flights

  • Check the airline headphone jack compatibility. Some airlines use a dual-prong or a three-prong jack, which means you may need an adapter to use your headphones. You can buy an adapter online or at the airport, or you can ask the flight attendant if they have one available.
  • Download entertainment for offline use. Some airlines offer in-flight entertainment, but some may not, or they may have a limited selection. To avoid boredom, you should download your favorite tunes, podcasts, or movies on your device before your flight, and make sure they are available for offline use.
  • Take care of your ears. Wearing headphones for a long time can cause ear fatigue, irritation, or infection. To prevent this, you should take breaks from your headphones every few hours, and you should clean your ears and your headphones regularly. You should also avoid listening to your headphones at a high volume, as this can damage your hearing.

Conclusion

Using quality over-ear headphones can make your long flights more enjoyable and comfortable. You should look for headphones that have good noise cancellation, comfort, battery life, sound quality, and portability.

This comprehensive comparison highlights the top contenders for over-ear headphones ideal for long flights. Remember, the best choice for you depends on your individual priorities.

  • Noise Cancellation: Bose QuietComfort Wireless or Sony WH-1000XM5 offer the strongest noise cancellation.
  • Battery Life: Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless and Soundcore by Anker Life Q30 boast exceptional battery life.
  • Price: Soundcore by Anker Life Q30 provides good value with decent noise cancellation.
  • Style: Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless prioritizes both comfort and aesthetics.
  • Versatility: Razer Barracuda Pro Wireless offers good noise cancellation and caters to gamers as well.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How much should I spend on headphones for travel?

The best budget for travel headphones depends on your priorities, but the options range from budget-friendly ($50-$100) to high-end ($300+).

Can I use wired headphones on a plane?

Wired headphones are generally allowed on airplanes, but wireless options offer more convenience.

Do headphones block out all airplane noise?

Noise-canceling headphones significantly reduce airplane noise, but they don’t block it out completely.

Can I use noise-canceling headphones during takeoff and landing?

Yes, you can use noise-canceling headphones during takeoff and landing, as long as they are wireless or connected to your own device. However, you should pay attention to the flight announcements and the safety instructions, and you should remove your headphones if the flight attendant asks you to do so.

How do I pair my headphones with the in-flight entertainment system?

To pair your headphones with the in-flight entertainment system, you need to use a Bluetooth transmitter that plugs into the headphone jack of the seat. You can buy a Bluetooth transmitter online or at the airport, or you can use one that comes with some headphones. You should pair your headphones with the transmitter before your flight, and you should turn on the transmitter and your headphones once you are on board.

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