Best Headphones for Long-Haul Flights: 10 Noise-Canceling Headphones

Top 5 Headphones to Keep You Entertained on Long Flights

Compared to searching for more general headphones, we somewhat rearrange our priorities when searching for the best headphones for long-haul flights. Compared to past times, we are more concerned with mobility, battery life, and active noise cancellation (ANC). The availability of a wired connection becomes even more crucial for users who are searching for anything to use while traveling.

Many of the products in our guide to the best noise-canceling headphones are included in this list of the best travel headphones because, when traveling, we recommend using ANC headphones rather than ones that merely employ padding to block out background noise. We also take into account the device’s battery life, practicality (folding up or being lightweight for carrying in a bag), and availability of a 3.5mm connector for connecting to an airplane’s entertainment system.

Top 3 Noise-Canceling Headphones: Stay Comfortable and Entertained

Related: Best Bluetooth Headset For Calls In Noisy Environment

Although wireless earbuds don’t have cable connections, over-ear headphones perform better in terms of ANC, but earbuds are much more portable. As a result, we’ve also chosen a selection of the top noise-canceling earphones across a range of price points, including one that can connect to wired audio sources.

Long-Haul Flight Essentials: The 10 Best Headphones for Travel

Our reviewers have put all of these earbuds to the test, and as part of that testing, we tested the noise-canceling earbuds on the very transportation modes we discuss when choosing the best travel headphones: buses, trains, and airplanes.

1. Sony WH-1000XM4

Most people’s top picks for travel headphones
Photo Title Price Buy
Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless...image Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Premium Noise Canceling Overhead Headphones with Mic for Phone-Call and Alexa Voice Control, Black WH1000XM4 $348.00
Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless...image Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Premium Noise Canceling Overhead Headphones - 30hr Battery Life, Over Ear Style with Mic for Phone-Call and Alexa Voice Control for Google Assistant - Black $247.50
Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless...image Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Bluetooth Noise Canceling Over-Ear Headphones (Black) Bundle with 10000mAh Ultra-Portable LED Display Wireless Quick Charge Battery Bank (2 Items) $348.00

Pros

+Exceptional noise-cancelling 
+Multi-point pairing
+Conversation awareness

Cons

Not water-resistant

SPECIFICATIONS

Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 253g
Frequency response: 4Hz to 40kHz
Drivers: 40mm
Battery life: 30 hours

With every generation, the Sony WH-1000 series has improved its noise-cancelling capabilities. Even though the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones are already on the market, the 2020 XM4s continue to provide an amazing blend of well-balanced music quality with outstanding ANC in a lightweight package. Even if they are a little older, these are still a far better deal than the newest model, even though you could pay more for it.

This place has excellent noise cancellation, especially for flying. When you take these off, that plane engine hum will become much more audible. This is made possible by Sony’s in-house QNe1 processor, which continuously samples your environment and modifies the noise suppression. Even though the newer Sony WH-1000XM5 model is available, it lacks the folding feature and is more expensive without significantly improving the experience. Therefore, the Sony WH-1000XM4s are our top choice for the best travel headphones. Not only will annoying noises disappear, but the pleather cups are cozy and comfortable even for long-haul journeys.

2. Sony WH-CH720N

The most affordable travel headphones

Photo Title Price Buy
Sony WH-CH720NW Noise...image Sony WH-CH720NW Noise Canceling Wireless Bluetooth Headphones - Built-in Microphone - up to 35 Hours Battery Life and Quick Charge - Matte White $102.28
Sony WH-CH720NL Noise...image Sony WH-CH720NL Noise Canceling Wireless Bluetooth Headphones - Built-in Microphone - up to 35 Hours Battery Life and Quick Charge - Navy Blue $119.99
Sony WH-CH720NB Noise...image Sony WH-CH720NB Noise Canceling Wireless Bluetooth Headphones - Built-in Microphone - up to 35 Hours Battery Life and Quick Charge - Matte Black (Black) $111.90

Pros

+ Lightweight and comfortable
+ Good active noise cancellation
+ Great extra features

Cons

They don’t fold
Weaker ANC than the pricier option

SPECIFICATIONS

Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 192g
Frequency response: 7Hz–22,000Hz
Drivers: 30mm dynamic
Battery life: 35 hours

Even though the Sony ‘XM’ model is more expensive than its flagship model, which costs about $150/£100, it still has extremely good audio quality, particularly in terms of detail and balance. The midrange is rich and warm, the instruments are clear, and the bass and treble each get their fair share of attention.

In our experience, noise cancellation truly helps to reduce outside noise so that you can hear dialogue during a movie on a plane, but generally, it leaks in substantially more sound than the more expensive options here (both for over-ear headphones and earbuds). It is comparable to other products sold for the same price by businesses like JBL, though.

We may overlook the fact that they don’t fold because they are quite lightweight and usually comfortable to use for extended periods of time. Again, that’s okay, but they don’t feel as luxurious as the other options here. We find that the stated 35-hour battery life is rather accurate, and the wired option is convenient for use on airplanes.

3. Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless

Top travel headphones with superior sound quality and long battery life

Photo Title Price Buy
Sennheiser Consumer Audio...image Sennheiser Consumer Audio Momentum 4 Wireless Headphones - Bluetooth Headset for Crystal-Clear Calls with Adaptive Noise Cancellation, 60h Battery Life, Lightweight Folding Design - Black $287.11
SENNHEISER Momentum 3...image SENNHEISER Momentum 3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones with Alexa, Auto On/Off, Smart Pause Functionality and Smart Control App, Black $319.95
Pros
+ Crisp, detailed audio
+ Astonishing battery life
+ Excellent ANC 

Cons

They don’t fold up.
Not the lightest 

SPECIFICATIONS

Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 293g
Frequency response: 6 Hz–22,000 Hz
Drivers: 42mm dynamic
Battery life: 60 hours

You see, let’s just take a moment to enjoy the 60-hour battery life before we even discuss the superb audio quality and outstanding ANC. Yes, even with ANC and at regular volume levels, 60 hours. That covers five transatlantic flights without even considering the possibility of coming into contact with a USB-C port. Oh, and you can connect it to an airplane entertainment system or use the 3.5mm connector if you do manage to run out of power.

Even though we would find that battery life sufficient, Sennheiser has also included incredibly dramatic audio. The Momentum 4 Wireless produces incredibly clear and detailed audio, regardless of the type of music. Even with over-ear cans, there’s a genuine depth to this sound. The relatively plain appearance and somewhat heavier weight of these travel cans will be quickly forgotten when you consider the fantastic ANC (which has amazing, adaptable capabilities you can customize using the app).
Our best headphones of 2024 were the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless Cans because they are incredibly good headphones that perform admirably on all fronts.

4. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

The top travel earphones with outstanding noise cancellation

Photo Title Price Buy
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds...image Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II, Wireless, Bluetooth, Proprietary Active Noise Cancelling Technology In-Ear Headphones with Personalized Noise Cancellation & Sound, Triple Black $179.00
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds...image Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II Bundle with Protective Silicone Carrying Case and Cloth - Active Wireless Noise Cancelling in-Ear Bluetooth Headphones with Personalized Sound, Bose Earbuds 2 (Black) $279.99
Bose QuietComfort Ultra...image Bose QuietComfort Ultra Wireless Noise Cancelling Earbuds, Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Earbuds with Spatial Audio and World-Class Noise Cancellation, Black $299.00

Pros

+ World-beating ANC
+ Comfortable fit
+ Beautiful audio

Cons

No hi-res music support
Not as small as some rivals

SPECIFICATIONS

Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 6.2g (per bud); 59.8g (charging case)
Frequency response: Not listed
Drivers: 9.3mm dynamic
Battery life: 6 hours (3 more charges in case)

The latest Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II go one step further and tailor audio to your ear canals, while some earbuds come with a variety of silicone tips so you may change the fit of your buds. The ANC and audio in these buds are both customized to fit your ears perfectly, thanks to Bose’s CustomTune technology. We may conclude that it’s doing something well based on the crystal-clear and exceptionally detailed sound that this has. Even above the roar of jet engines, these buds sing with a dynamic soundstage thanks to Bose’s best-in-class noise reduction.

With a far more comfortable fit than the previous generation, the design has been completely redesigned and is perfect for extended listening sessions. Although they are not the smallest buds, the lozenges look less thick in your ears and are lighter than the original Bose QC Earbuds. The lack of compatibility for high-resolution audio is the sole drawback, and the price is very high without this extra benefit.

Furthermore, although active noise cancellation is the finest available for earbuds, premium over-ear headphones offer even greater effectiveness, however, unlike these, they don’t fit into your pocket wherever you go.

5. Sony WF-C700N

Photo Title Price Buy
Sony WF-C700N Wireless...image Sony WF-C700N Wireless Noise-Canceling Earbuds - Bluetooth Hi-Fi Earphones with 35-Hour Battery, Water-Resistant Design, Touch Controls for Calls and Music - Premium Audio Experience, Black $99.99
Sony WF-C700N Truly...image Sony WF-C700N Truly Wireless Noise Canceling Bluetooth Earbuds with Mic and IPX4 Resistance (Black) Bundle with Truly Wireless Accessory (2 Items)
LDSXAY Compatible with...image LDSXAY Compatible with Sony WF-C700N Case Cover, Soft Silicone Shockproof Protective Skin Case for Sony WF-C700N Truely Wireless Earbud Headphones, Protective Cover with Carabiner (Black) $7.99
 Pros
+ Detailed, immersive audio
+ Very comfortable and secure
+ Strong noise cancellation

Cons

Not a lot of battery in the case
Some small missing features

SPECIFICATIONS

Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 4.6g per bud
Frequency response: 20-20,000Hz
Drivers: 5mm
Battery life: 7.5 hours (earbuds), 7.5 hours (charging case)

These are hardly the many items that make us write in a review, “Sony just ripped our notions on what is achievable at this level to smithereens.” Proceed no further if your budget allows you to purchase a set of earbuds under $100 and yet receive optimal sound quality and noise cancellation. There is nothing like this.

It’s not only the lively, precise, and detailed audio quality; it’s also the easy-to-hear (and adjustable) active noise cancellation. Sure, over-ear or Bose headphones perform better, but they cost much more.

All of this, combined with a lengthy battery life from the buds, an extremely light and secure fit, support for Sony’s 360 Reality Audio technology for positional sound, and generally excellent app support, makes for a wonderful combination. While it’s hardly a deal-breaker, the fact that the case only comes with one additional charge is a minor inconvenience when traveling. To keep the price low, minor features like auto-pausing when you remove them and on-ear volume control have also been removed. Once more, we’re not worried.

6. Apple AirPods Pro 2

Photo Title Price Buy
Apple AirPods Pro...image Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) Wireless Ear Buds with USB-C Charging, Up to 2X More Active Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones, Transparency Mode, Adaptive Audio, Personalized Spatial Audio $128.57
Apple AirPods (2nd...image Apple AirPods (2nd Generation) Wireless Ear Buds, Bluetooth Headphones with Lightning Charging Case Included, Over 24 Hours of Battery Life, Effortless Setup for iPhone $79.99
Apple AirPods (3rd...image Apple AirPods (3rd Generation) Wireless Ear Buds, Bluetooth Headphones, Personalized Spatial Audio, Sweat and Water Resistant, Lightning Charging Case Included, Up to 30 Hours of Battery Life $101.25

Pros

+ Elite active noise cancellation
+ Brilliant sound quality
+ Spatial Audio for movies

Cons

Android users don’t get the full features.

SPECIFICATIONS

Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 5.3g each
Frequency response: Not listed
Drivers: Custom Apple design
Battery life: 6 hours (earbuds) and 30 hours (charging case)

The AirPods Pro 2 marked a significant advancement for the AirPods brand, offering Apple users not only an incredibly easy experience but also top-notch noise cancellation and audio quality. With extremely rich audio, there’s a broad soundscape that we haven’t experienced on earlier AirPods. Each instrument, including the bass and vocals, has a moment to shine.

The AirPods Pro 2 are the ideal traveling companions when you factor in superior ANC that trails only slightly behind Bose, as well as a smaller and lighter design compared to nearly all comparable competitors and Apple’s Find My feature in case you misplace them.

However, spatial audio is the frosting on the cake. When you watch movies on an iPhone or iPad, these devices simulate being in a movie theater with speakers all around you, as opposed to having the sound blasting directly into your ears. When traveling, it’s wonderful to feel less constrained, and these provide you with a little of that as well as an overall more immersive experience.

7. Earfun Air Pro 3

Photo Title Price Buy
EarFun Air Pro...image EarFun Air Pro 3 Noise Cancelling Earbuds, Qualcomm® aptX™ Adaptive Sound, 6 Mics CVC 8.0 ENC, Bluetooth 5.3 Earbuds, Multipoint Connection, 45H Playtime, App Customize EQ, Wireless Charging $55.98
EarFun Free Pro...image EarFun Free Pro 3 Noise Cancelling Wireless Earbuds, Hi-Res Sound, Snapdragon Sound with Qualcomm aptX™ Adaptive, 6 Mics ENC, Bluetooth 5.3 Earbuds, Multipoint Connection, Custom App, Wireless Charge $79.99

Pros

+ Excellent battery life
+ Solid noise cancellation
+ Crammed with features

Cons

ANC is weaker than premium models
Not the smallest case

SPECIFICATIONS

Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 52g total
Frequency response: Not listed
Drivers: Not listed
Battery life: 67 hours (earbuds) and 37 hours (charging case)

To put it briefly, we dubbed these “the best cheap noise-canceling earbuds you can get” in our review. Are they as good at blocking noise as the Bose or the Sony earphones that are on this list? No, but they perform better than anything else at the same price point and are less costly (and frequently even further down).

They’re even more of a deal when you take into account their excellent battery life and future-proof features like Bluetooth 5.3 and LE Audio compatibility. Even if the sound isn’t as rich as more expensive models, it’s still enjoyable and captivating to listen to, and it sounds well for the price with no evident flaws.

We don’t mind the design too much because of what’s been crammed in there, even though it’s not particularly sleek. These are excellent all-arounders, and they are our least expensive choice due to the sound quality given the price.

8. Edifier Stax Spirit S3

Photo Title Price Buy
Edifier STAX Spirit...image Edifier STAX Spirit S3 Wireless Planar Magnetic Headphone, Bluetooth Hi-Fi Headphone with Hi-Res & Snapdragon Sound with Mic for Audiophiles, Home, Studio $348.00

Pros

+ Wonderful hi-fi sound quality
+ Powerful bass-heavy audio
+ Folding design

Cons

No active noise cancellation
Heavier than other options
Expensive

SPECIFICATIONS

Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 329g
Frequency response: 20Hz-40kHz
Drivers: 70 x 89mm planar magnetic
Battery life: 80 hours

Nothing quite like it; therefore, the only item on this list without active noise cancellation makes it in. You can’t do better if what you’re searching for doesn’t have to muffle airplane noise and instead packs up small for packing while providing simply unrivaled audio fidelity once you arrive at your destination.

Our statement that the sound is “as good as headphones double and even triple the price” is accurate, but these are in the same price range as the Sennheisers. This is because the Edifiers use planar magnetic drivers instead of the standard dynamic drivers used by all other headphones here, which means that they can achieve levels of dynamic response and delicate detail that the other headphones can only imagine. Premium, but not excessive.

However, as we previously mentioned, they don’t have active noise reduction, and the software to adjust their settings is simple. Therefore, they’re not so great if your goal is to enjoy your music clearly during your commute, but they’re fantastic for audiophiles looking for something amazing-sounding yet reasonably priced for when they arrive at their destination.

9. Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2

Photo Title Price Buy
Bowers & Wilkins...image Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 Over-Ear Headphones - Advanced Noise Cancellation, Technical Fabrics, 30-Hour Battery Life, 15-Min Quick Charging, Black $284.99
Bowers & Wilkins...image Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 in-Ear True Wireless Headphones (2021 Model), 6 Built-in Mics, Bluetooth 5.0 Qualcomm aptX & Dual Hybrid Drivers, Adaptive Noise Cancellation, Smart Wireless Charging, Charcoal $286.95
Bowers & Wilkins...image Bowers & Wilkins PI3 in Ear Wireless Headphones - Space Grey $89.99

Pros

+ Excellent audio clarity and insight
+ Case provides wired audio support.
+ Great control app

Cons

Weak battery life
ANC is hit-and-miss
They’re big

SPECIFICATIONS

Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 7g per bud, 47g charging case
Frequency response: Not listed
Drivers: 9.2mm Dynamic Drive with Balanced Armature
Battery life: 5 hours (earbuds), 16 hours (charging case)

Few earphones can compare to them in terms of sound quality. In our review, we gushed that those dynamic aspects are conveyed with “more zeal and energy than we’ve heard from any set of truly wireless earbuds to date” and declared that “you’re in for a sonic masterclass.” They are unmatched in terms of sound quality.

Unfortunately, that isn’t the case for the noise cancellation quality, which allows for significantly more low-frequency rumble than we would anticipate from a device this expensive, and the battery life, which is the lowest on our list.

However, they are holding something special. These earbuds can be corded, in contrast to nearly all other genuine wireless models. Two USB-C to USB-C cables and one 3.5mm jack to USB-C cable are included with the case, so you may connect it to an audio source, like an in-flight entertainment system. Through high-quality streaming via aptX, the sound is streamed from the case to the earbuds.

While none of the earbuds on this list have wired choices, every over-ear headset on our list does. That’s how getting fully wireless works. This offers the best of both worlds. Most of the best, anyway; only the noise cancellation could be improved. Additionally, because of their size, people with little ears should test them out before committing.

SELECTING THE IDEAL TOUR HEADPHONES FOR YOU

All of the crucial choices about the best headphones for long-haul flights are entirely subjective. There are a few things to consider because the goal is to locate the best travel headphones for you and no one else.

Selecting the first option is simple. Which do you prefer: earbuds or over-ear cans? There is no right or incorrect response because everyone has quite varied preferences. Some people worry about getting the perfect fit or think in-ear buds are intrusive. Fortunately, most earbuds now come with a variety of silicone tips to make sure the buds are secure enough that you won’t have to worry about them falling out if you’re worried about the latter. Since a good seal is essential to active noise cancellation, most ANC pairs offer a good variety. Because their little casings fit into an inside pocket, earbuds are especially convenient for travel.

However, if you don’t mind carrying something a little bulkier and want some extra loudness in your music, many over-ear headphones are made specifically to be muted in busy train cars and airports. Travel enthusiasts have long been loyal to brands like Sony and Bose because of their exceptional noise cancellation, incredibly comfortable over-ear fit, and gratifying audio quality.

Additionally, they fit tightly, which is gratifying as you nod off on an airplane while nestled into your neck pillow. Additionally, you should look for over-ear headphones that have a 3.5mm connection built into the casing so you can connect them to the in-flight entertainment system instead of using the free foamy monsters to watch a movie.

If you plan to use true wireless earbuds on a flight, make sure you have enough entertainment on your phone or tablet because they won’t have a cable option most of the time.

After determining a fit, it’s time to consider your financial situation. Investing in a high-end pair of ANC cans can be worthwhile if you travel frequently by air or wish to block out loud trains daily. There are many affordable ANC solutions available if you’re only taking a single, quick flight and don’t want to spend the full cost of the ticket on headphones. Some bells and whistles will have to go, but audio quality doesn’t always have to suffer.

About ANC, you should think about how much you wish to filter out outside stimuli. As previously mentioned, the ANC is typically better the more you pay. However, it isn’t always the case, so make sure to check out our reviews from actual users. All of the products in this guide have some sort of active noise cancellation (ANC); in fact, we think that ANC is a must for the best travel headphones. However, if engulfing yourself in a rich, immersive soundscape is your top priority, we also have a guide to the best noise-canceling headphones and earbuds.

How Do We Evaluate the Best Headphones for Travel?

In any case, we always test the active noise cancellation headphones for travel as much as possible before reviewing them. We’ve tested the majority of these options on airplanes and listened to them in cities amid traffic, as well as on buses and trains.

We test headphones for audio fidelity from many sources, mostly the top music streaming services. We’ll test everything from extremely high-quality tunes on Tidal to the most basic quality of Spotify’s interface. We’ll also evaluate popular streaming services like YouTube, podcasts, and movie streams.

The majority of contemporary headphones come with applications, which we always test to determine how they might impact the experience (for better or worse). While we’re at it, we’ll utilize the batteries for an extended period to test their comfort and verify the battery claims.

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