Best headphones for plane travel in 2024

The best headphones for plane travel are essential if you want some much-needed peace and quiet on your journey. That's because when you're travelling on an airplane, there are all kinds of noises you can't control, like the sounds of passengers talking and snoring, or babies crying.

But a good pair of the best noise-canceling headphones can block out those sounds to varying degrees, making them ideal for planes. Many of the headphones in our list, like the Apple AirPods Pro 2, below have "Active noise canceling" technology, or ANC, which refers to headphones that emit sounds to your ear that specifically cancel out certain unwanted sounds in your environment. 

In short, they provide the best possible experience. And although some won't completely block out all sounds, they do a good enough job to help you relax and even get some sleep while everyone else is eating, watching movies and chatting around you.

Block out annoying sounds with the best headphones for plane travel

You can always trust iMore. Our team of Apple experts have years of experience testing all kinds of tech and gadgets, so you can be sure our recommendations and criticisms are accurate and helpful. Find out more about how we test.

Which headphones are the best for plane travel?

The best headphones for plane travel tend to be noise-cancelling headphones. But that's not strictly necessary. If your headphones fit well, the passive noise isolation may be sufficient. 

If you're looking for something more compact and pocketable, we'd recommend a pair of the best true wireless earbuds, like the Apple AirPods Pro 2, especially if you own a lot of Apple devices as they work so seamlessly together. Turn on active noise cancellation for fully immersive sound, or put on transparency mode for important airplane announcements or conversation with your travel companions. 

No list of headphones could be complete without mentioning Apple's AirPods Max. If they're within your budget, we'd highly recommend checking them out. They're not as compact as true wireless earbuds, but if you're looking for a pair of the best wired headphones, they're some of the most advanced on the market.

If you're looking for something more bargain-friendly, you'll enjoy the Earfun Free Pro Wireless Headphones. We took these on a recent flight and watched several television shows without being disturbed by the sounds around me. The sound, battery life, features, and price are quite nice.

If you don't need headphones specifically for travel but would like to know which are the top devices out there right now, then take a look at some of our other lists, including our best Bluetooth headphones for Apple Watch guide, our selection of the best wired headphones for Apple Music Lossless Audio and our best USB-C Headphones for iPad Pro list.

Karen S Freeman

Karen is a contributor to as a writer and co-host of the iMore Show. She’s been writing about Apple since 2010 with a year-long break to work at an Apple Store as a product specialist. She's also a contributor at TechRadar and Tom's Guide. Before joining iMore in 2018, Karen wrote for Macworld, CNET, AppAdvice, and WatchAware. She’s an early adopter who used to wait in long lines on release days before pre-ordering made things much easier. Karen is also a part-time teacher and occasional movie extra. She loves to spend time with her family, travel the world, and is always looking for portable tech and accessories so she can work from anywhere.