Best noise cancelling headphones for travel are undoubtedly Sennheiser PXC250. Small, light and pretty effective against most background noise.

Edit by Jeremy Horwitz, March 2005: iPodlounge has deleted a collection of negative and derogatory comments from "audiogeek" on our site, which we discovered have been posted by a writer for competing publications. As he has trolled and posted obnoxious comments in a number of threads, picking fights with our readers and editors, he has been banned from the site, and we strongly oppose his repeated mischaracterizations of various products and our editorial opinions. This comments thread was affected by his posts, and has therefore been modestly edited. If any of the other comments below do not make sense in the context of these deletions, we apologize.

Posted by Toby Smith on May 11, 2004 at 11:49 PM (PDT) Comment 1

If you are looking for the best noise cancelling headphones then you have to consider the Bose QuietComfort 2's. I purchased a set of these as well as the Sennheiser PXC250 to compare them head to head. The Bose list for $300, the Sennheiser's for $150, and the Plane Quiet's for $80. The bottom line is that you get what you pay for. The Plane Quiets are simply junk and the company's customer service matches the quality. They won't even respond to e-mail inquires and will not return voice messages. So by all means DO NOT associate with them at all! The Sennheiser's were decent. The sound quality and noise isolation were average at best. The Bose, on the other hand, were superb! I didn't really want to spend the $300 on them, but there was nothing that could compare to them in the over the head earcup style. I heard details in the music that I was never able to hear before with other headphones including the Sennheiser's. I use the noise cancelling primary for mowing the lawn. It works very well and the headphones are so great that I actually use them all the time around the house whenever I listen to my iPod. So I urge anyone considering noise cancelling headphones to give the Bose QC2's a try. They come with a 30 day trial period so you can return them if you aren't completely satisfied.

Posted by Jason on May 12, 2004 at 4:56 AM (PDT) Comment 2

As an aside to this review, I have a pair of lower-end noise cancelling headphones - I can't even remember the brand but they do an adequate job of reducing noise - which is what I wanted. Anyway a stewardess asked me to remove prior to takeoff, which I did, but during the flight I pointed out that they weren't connected to anything so could hardly interfere with the plane's navigation devices. She told me that the other reason they don't want people wearing any headphones is so they can hear instructions in case of a problem. Sounds good but by that logic they should also ban earplugs.

Posted by Keith Morgan on May 12, 2004 at 6:29 AM (PDT) Comment 3

Keigth, They do ban earplugs, by the way. The stewardess on my last flight yelled at me for keeping them on during the safety demonstrations...

Posted by iamaustin on May 12, 2004 at 7:21 AM (PDT) Comment 4

My name is James Dabbs and I am the Director of Operations for Outside the Box, Inc., the makers of thePlane Quiet. We can be found at [url=][/url]

I must say I was somewhat suprised when I came across this article a few moments ago. I was even more suprised as read through it.

The comments written on our product, most of which were negative, were based on a model of our Headphones that we have not offered in a year. The headset reviewed and photographed above was one of our original versions. We have since gone through 4 upgrades, completely changing the pin design, increasing the noise cancellation ability, and making noticable improvements on the sound quality, along with many other enhancements.

As for the issue regarding use on an aircraft. The headphones are not banned. In fact, our headset is the only headset approved for use on commercial aircraft by the FAA. As the leading supplier of headsets to the worldwide commercial aviation industry, our products must pass specific and stringent FAA guilindes concerning uses on commercial and private aircraft. Our headset are in use by more than 90% of commercial airlines worldwide.

We very, very rarely hear any remarks stating that a flight attendent has requested removal of the headphones while in flight. Please note though, you should as instructed by your flight attendent.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions regarding our headset, especially our most recent version, the Mark 5, at the posted email or at [url=][/url] We can also be reached 1-800-720-5076.

Posted by James Dabbs on May 18, 2004 at 5:50 AM (PDT) Comment 5

Pursuant to the comments above, the manufacturer stated that replacement units would be sent for review, and never followed through. We stand by the review as was written.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz on January 20, 2005 at 11:53 PM (PDT) Comment 6

Hello again, this is James Dabbs from OTB, Inc. I have already made my introduction in an above post.

I was surprised to see this review find its way to public again, regardless, here are a few, but very important points.

The item reviewed above has not been sold since around mid-year 2002. Even its later versions, all the way through the Mark 5 (the final version of this particular Plane Quiet design) is no longer in production or available for retail. I believe I did see a few Mark 5s on eBay going for about $190 though. That is quite a jump from the $80 we were pricing at.

We do have a new Plane Quiet design, the NC-6. Its performance has actually been increased, as compared to previous Plane Quiet models. We were even able to afford it a more attractive retail price. Please visit our site, [url=][/url] for further details.

I would also like to note the release of our new ANC headset, the Solitude, [url=][/url] The Solitude has 18dB of active noise cancellation alone, and its features make it an unbeatable value; especially when compared to its more expensive competitors.

As always, please feel free to contact me with any inquiries. My contact info is listed above.

Posted by James Dabbs on February 15, 2005 at 6:32 AM (PDT) Comment 7

Jeremy, you should just go out and buy a set if Plane Quiet won't send them to you! smile You really need to update this review.

The new model (NC-6) is pretty good. I have had the chance to compare them to the Bose Quiet Comfort 2s and they stack up pretty well, especially for the price. True neither the Plane Quiets or the Bose will compare all that well with headphones designed simply with audio reproduction in mind (Plane Quiet you really COULD improve the quality of the speakers -are you listening James Dabbs?)

If you need noise cancelling though the NC-6s do pretty well. I often travel on regional airlines -flying noisy Dash 8s - and noise reduction really reduces my fatigue after a long flight.

Posted by PVR on February 18, 2005 at 2:35 PM (PDT) Comment 8

Boy, do I regret buying these crummy headphones! The sound is muddled through every register. They just do not have the deep bass response and crisp highs that I had expected. Totally useless with all three of my iPods. Noise canceling is just so so. I get vastly better sound reproduction with a $15 pair of Sony MDR-WG20 ultra light weight headphones. On a scale of 1-10, they rate about a 2 or 3.

Posted by Mike Mayer on March 25, 2005 at 7:33 AM (PDT) Comment 9

Has anyone tried the Philips HN050 Noise Canceling Lightweight Headphones with Neckband?

Posted by MacAddict on July 6, 2005 at 4:23 PM (PDT) Comment 10
related reviews

Apple TV adds FOX Now, CNBC channels
Popular Bitcoin wallet app Blockchain returns to App Store
Report: Apple Stores to support carrier early iPhone upgrade programs
Report: Apple buying talk radio app Swell
Congress passes bill to legalize phone unlocking
Bose sues Beats over noise-canceling patents
iLounge Game Spotlight: Modern Combat 5: Blackout
Apps of the Week: ShipAntics, Modern Combat 5, This American Life 3.0 + more
Report: Apple could launch own mobile wallet this fall
Report: Apple ‘tentatively’ plans mid-September iPhone event

related reviews

Kenu Airframe+ Portable Car Mount
Incipio offGRID Smart Bluetooth Low Energy-Enabled Portable 6000mAh Backup Battery
Divoom Voombox Travel Rugged Portable Wireless Speaker
Logitech protection+ for iPhone 5/5s and +trip
Beats Powerbeats2 Wireless
Incipio Steno Ultra-Thin Bluetooth Keyboard Folio for iPad Air
OtterBox Resurgence Power Case for iPhone 5/5s
Gumdrop Cases FoamTech Case for iPad Air
Ztylus Camera Case + RV-2 Revolver Lens for iPhone 5/5s
JBL Synchros Reflect In-Ear Sport Headphones

related reviews

What’s New in iTunes 12
iLounge Picks: Five Great Summer Party Speakers
Editorial: Endings And Beginnings
Live From CE Week 2014: Brand New iPad, iPhone + Mac Accessories!
What’s New In iOS 8 For iPad, iPhone + iPod touch
iLounge Multi-Editorial: WWDC 2014’s iOS 8, OS X Yosemite + More
The Complete Guide to Apple TV Channels
iHistory: From iPod + iTunes to iPhone, Apple TV + iPad, 2001 to 2010
iHistory: From iPod + iTunes to iPhone, Apple TV + iPad: 2011 to Today
Viewing only downloaded iTunes Match tracks