Crying children, the coughers and sneezers, the flight attendant buzzers, and **shudder** the whirring of those damn jet engines. There they all are, waiting to completely ruin your work trip to Boise. If you’re a frequent flyer, you already know the single most important piece of gear in your carry-on is your headphones. And when it comes to blocking the noise typically heard on a plane out and replacing it with your favorite movies, music, or other audible distractions, noise-cancelling headphones are simple must-haves because they use built-in microphones to cancel out ambient noise, and replace it with the good stuff we want to hear. Here are the 8 best noise-cancelling headphones for your next flight:


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Philips Fidelico NC1

Far as on-ear noise-cancelling headphones are concerned, few compare to the Philips Fidelico NC1. For that tag, you’re getting supremely comfortable on-ear headphones, along with advanced neodymium drivers for high fidelity quality, stand-alone acoustic chambers for precision sound, and up to 30 hours of active noise-cancelling play time, which makes long-distance traveling a breeze. $265



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Beem United BeMe D200

If you’re an iPhone/iPad user looking for a solid earbud, the BeMe D200s from Beem United are great. While they won’t work with non-Apple equipment, because of their lightning port jack, they’re ideal for the right audience because they’re powered directly from your phone. The sound right out of the box on these earbuds is great, but you can also create your own custom 10-band EQ using their real-time app. Sound is delivered in HD audio quality via digital 24-bit/48KHz frequency, and the ANC can be clicked on and off with the push of a button. And at $179, they’re well worth the investment. $179



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Bose QuietComfort 35

The generally undisputed king of the noise-cancelling headphones world, there’s not too much to say about Bose’s QC35s that hasn’t already been said. Outstanding comfort and best-in-class sound mate perfectly (and wirelessly) with impeccable noise-cancelling technology, a volume-optimized EQ for balanced audio at every volume level, and an excellent 20-hour battery life per charge (40 if wired), to give savvy travelers the best listening experience possible at 36,000 feet. The only potential downside is, with a price tag of 350 bucks, you’re paying for every sliver of it. $349



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Sony MDR-1000X

Many (including the folks at Sony) are calling the MDR-1000X Sony’s response to the QC35. Aside from its sleek design, the MDR-1000x features excellent sound quality, great battery life, and superior comfort that proves invaluable on long hauls. The biggest feature, however, is in Sony’s Sense Engine that not only measures ambient noise outside the headphones, but also considers details like the size and shape of one’s ears and head, whether or not they wear glasses, and any other details that might result in sound leakage or reduced quality. It’s actually kind of nuts. $365



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Audio-Technica ATH-ANC23

Active noise-cancelling in-ear headphones that don’t suck for less than 50 bucks. Our appraisal of these wonderful little headphones could probably stop there, but there’s so much to be said about Audio-Technica’s ATH-ANC23s. Audio-Technica claims that these ear buds reduce distracting background noise by up to 90% and create a comfortable listening environment damn near anywhere, and reviewers agree: They do their job, and they do it well. The simple and easy-to-use QuietPoint control box creates a noise-cancelling wave that acts as a noise eraser, and if you had any doubts about their use, rest assured that every pair comes specifically with an airline plug adapter. They know why they made them, and you know why you’re purchasing them. $49



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Bose QuietControl 30

The QuietControl 30s from Bose are a true testament to the brand’s engineering and dedication to design. Released just a few months ago, the QuietControl 30s allow listeners to select their own individual level of desired noise cancellation. Users have reported them being some of the most comfortable in-ear headphones to date because the lightweight neckband design will conform to a user’s individual body, providing complete comfort and zero neck strain whether you’re getting a quick workout in at the hotel gym, or embarking on a long and arduous intercontinental flight. You’ll get 10 hours of wireless listening per charge, and each QuietControl 30 boasts headphone-grade noise cancellation, all in a package a little less steep than the QC35s. $299



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Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2

If you’re looking for a new brand to try out and aren’t deterred by too low a price tag (lol), you’ll likely find your new favorite pair of headphones in the BackBeat Pro 2s by Plantronics. First and foremost, these fully immersive over-ear headphones weigh in at just 200 bucks, which gives them some seriously good bang-for-your-buck value. At 24 hours of battery on one charge, they’re also great for long journeys, and they don’t skip a beat as far as audio quality or noise-cancelling ability goes, either.  They can stand on their own with the best comparable offerings from companies like Bose and Sennheiser, but they’ll cost you almost half the bread. $200



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Sennheiser PXC 550

Sennheiser is a world standard in audio quality, and their PXC 550 Wireless Bluetooth Headset definitely doesn’t disappoint. Made for the career traveler, the PXC 550 features an array of selective sound modes to enhance overall quality, intuitive user controls that streamline ease-of-use, wonderful comfort to help make long journeys less stressful, and Sennheiser’s NoiseGard adaptive noise cancellation, which guarantees superior sound quality in a multitude of environments. All that, wrapped in a package that’s light, durable, ergonomic, and damn attractive. We could complain about its price tag, but we don’t doubt it’s worth every cent. $389