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Another Reason to Pack Noise Cancelling Headphones

It seems a woman on a recent LA-NY American Airlines flight decided to entertain her fellow passengers by singing a rendition of Whitney Houstons’ “I Will Always Love You” over and over again.

It got so irritating, a Federal Air Marshall on board placed her in restraints. But she kept on singing.

The pilot then made an unscheduled landing in Kansas City just so the woman could be escorted off. And the strange thing is, she kept singing even after being handcuffed and led off the plane

The woman was questioned and released without being charged. American Airlines, however, refused to fly her the rest of the way. Do you blame them?

Which brings up a question: What are your favorite noise cancelling headphones that aren’t so large they take up half a carry-on bag?

(Thanks to Paula Bag Less for alerting me to this story.)

Reader Comments (18)

I'd also be interested in readers' opinions on small noise cancelling headphones, I've been looking out for some for a while...
May 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris
Bose QuietComfort 15 though I had same Sony's that folded up nicely but the foam ear pieces deteriorated making the headphones un usable.
May 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTWB
One-baggers should trade in their noise-cancelling headphones for noise-isolating in-ear earphones. Etymotic Research was the pioneer in this category. They work like earplugs to block out ambient sound. The stock foam eartips work fine for me, but you can also purchase eartips that can be custom-molded by yourself or professionally.
May 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEric
I like the person claiming "no pictures, no pictures on the airplane." There is no rule against taking picture on an airplane at all.
May 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMartin
I won't leave home without my Sony noise cancelling headphones. Bought them at Gatwick in 2011 and totally satisfied with this brand. I DO NOT like the ones that plug directly into one's ears. This set folds up, fits into a nice zippered case and has an assortment of alternate jacks. Enjoy, Bob W
May 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBob W
Yes, I traded in my Bose active headset for Etymotics (various versions, now the iphone version), and have never looked back. *Far* better noise isolation, if you don't mind cleaning a bit of earwax every third flight or so. And yes, they're passive, so you can use them all the way to the ground.
May 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRandal L. Schwartz
I don't use noise-cancelling headphones (heavy, need batteries) but have a couple of noise-isolating ones: Shure 215 in-ear and Sennheiser PX200 folding. Cheap enough not to worry about losing/breaking them. The Shure doesn't have volume control which I missed when buying. Plus I find the earbuds uncomfortable over a couple of hours.
May 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie
Sorry should have added that the Shure ones in black have the volume control but I have the (cool) clear ones.
May 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie
I have the Bose noise-cancelling headphones BUT didn't take them on the last trip because they are rather BULKY to pack, even without the case. I'm going to consider getting the iPad Mini for travel when it is "refreshed" later this year, in part to allow additional space in my Tom Bihn Co-Pilot for the headphones, though also I find the full-size iPad a bit large when shoe-horned into an economy class seat.
May 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlan B
I use a pair of audiotechnica active noise cancelling headphones (that also work without the battery as a normal pair of headphones). They cover my ears comfortably. The model is ATH-ANC7b, they use one AAA battery in the right ear cup.

The sound reproduction with and without cancellation is excellent. There is a space in the case that I can fit my old video ipod in, and it has a variety of cords and jacks. The case is about 55x200x190mm and it weighs about 220g (500g with case and extra batteries etc.
May 14, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterflerdle
Another vote for Shure in-ear for all the reasons cited AND the great small but protective travel case that allows me to safely pack anywhere without damage.
May 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWayne
Another vote for the etymotics. In my continuing efforts to minimize bulk and weight, I shelved my Bose a few years ago and also have never looked back. I did find the stock inserts very uncomfortable, but my custom molded inserts are fantastic. As I said to the doctor who made the molds at Boston Childrens Hospital's Musicians' Hearing Program, it feels like my ears are being hugged from the inside. :-)

One note -- I do not wear them all the way to the ground. Better to let your ears adjust to the pressure changes as you descend -- at least this is true for me.
May 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJosh
I feel for the person in the story.

She might have taken something to alleviate fear of flying, was in the mist of grief or just had a breakdown.
It happens.

Stranding her far from home and her destination, in such a state, was unethical.

This is one case the FA should have offered her drinks, non alcoholics.

Maybe the remaining "flagship" airlines should go into the cargo business.

Unfortunately, luggage fees cannot be extracted from cargo.
May 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFun Travel
I dont like sticking earphones in my ears, not comfy and they fall out and I cant afford to spend $1000 on custom molds, so I'd recommend PSB M4U 2 headphones - they were rated tops by Sound & Vision mag.
May 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterArt
@Art, when I decided to try an in-ear solution I was also very concerned that they would be uncomfortable. And those fears -- for me -- were borne out when I first bought the Etymotics because I couldn't make them fit comfortably, despite the fact that they come with a pretty good range of different cushions, etc. None of them fit well enough for me to even consider leaving them in my ears for an extended flight. The custom-molded inserts made all the difference for me. They cost an additional $100 (approximately). The deal-closer for me, though, was the savings in bulk and weight over my Bose headphones (which I still love and use, though not for travel.)

These are just my own experiences -- there is clearly not one solution that works for everyone.
May 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJosh
Thanks Josh - I'll check them out. $100 is not a bad investment for a perfect fit, lightweight set of headphones.
May 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterArt
Audio Technica ATH-ANC23 QuietPoint Active Noise-Cancelling In-Ear Headphones. Under $60 from Amazon etc. They really work, which surprised me. The are in-ear, with a soft silicone rubber tip. The rubber tip knocks down some of the cabin noise (acts like a low-grade earplug) but when you switch on the power, it's like you aren't riding inside a vacuum cleaner anymore. There's still noise, but it's much less fatiguing, and I can make out the dialog on the inflight movie without having to crank up the volume - I can actually enjoy the movie. I believe it comes with an adapter to use in the airplane (I can't remember any more), but if not, they are a $4 or so accessory item that is listed on the Amazon page below the Audio Technica product description.

Years ago I tried carrying and wearing some over the ear headphones. They worked two, but everything was just too large in my bag. The in-ear Audio Technica fit in a tiny pouch. Also the single triple AAA battery has lasted about 6 transpacific flights to far (but always carry a spare and remember to shut this off).
June 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMWebb
Audio Technica ANC3s.

In ear type so tiny (a good thing for travelling light) - but still have terrific noise cancelling.
January 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCaptain Sensible

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