An airplane takes off at Roissy-Charles-
Talk about friendly skies. Photograph by FRED DUFOUR AFP/Getty Images

10 Gadgets for Surviving a Noisy Flight

Dec 09, 2016

Getting comfortable on a long flight can be difficult for many reasons. The cabin is too cold or warm, the infant sitting three rows behind you is incessantly crying, or perhaps your neighbor is a chronic snorer. Noisy phone calls could potentially become a disturbance for future flights too, as the U.S. Transportation Department recently proposed new rules that could let airlines decide to allow Wi-Fi-enabled voice calls on board.

While such a decision is likely years away, there's always a need for gadgets that can help make a long flight more peaceful and comfortable. Here's a look at some products to keep you distracted from noisy passengers on your next flight.

EarPlanes ($11.99 for 1 pair)

Travelers looking for earplugs that do more than simply eliminate sound should check out the EarPlanes, which are reusable earbuds designed specifically for comfort during flights. Developed by the House Ear Institute and tested by the U.S. Navy, EarPlanes regulate air pressure to prevent pain that may occur during takeoff and landing.

Bose QuietComfort 20 ($249)

At $249 the Bose QuietComfort 20s are steeply priced for earbuds, but their performance is said to be unmatched. Those looking for noise canceling headphones that are more compact than what over-ear options like the Quiet Comfort 35 have to offer should consider these. The earbuds will also continue to produce sound after the battery dies, but without noise cancellation.

Bose QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones 

Bose QuietComfort 35 ($349)

Bose's QuietComfort 35s have been rated as top-notch noise canceling headphones. Critics mostly love them because they're comfortable, offer superb audio quality even over Bluetooth, and can function in both wireless and wired mode. They're an ideal choice for fliers looking for a solid pair of over-ear headphones for blocking out distractions, although buyers should note that the battery isn't replaceable.

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Howard Leight Max Light Earbuds ($6.40 for 5 pairs)

Honeywell's Howard Leight Max Lights are ideal for anyone in need of a basic yet effective disposable foam earbud, especially those with small ear canals. They're efficient enough to block out noise from nearby street construction, according to a CNET review, which means they should be more than capable of silencing nearby conversations.

Aeris Memory Foam Travel Neck Pillow Kit ($24.90)

Frequent fliers looking for comfort and noise cancellation all in one package should consider this kit from Aeris. It includes a ventilated memory foam neck pillow, a soft sleep mask, and a pair of foam ear plugs. The pillow's foam is also ventilated to prevent it from becoming too warm during sleep.

SleepPhones (39.95)

Noise canceling headphones like those made by Bose are excellent for simply wiping out nearby sound. But sleeping comfortably with them can be challenging. That's the issue the fabric-made SleepPhones hope to solve. The headphones look just like an ordinary headband, making them flat enough to wear enjoyably while lying down, but include speakers for listening to music. They're available in both wired and wireless versions, although the cord free edition will set you back $99.95 Buyers may also want to try wearing them during a night's sleep at home to get used to the SleepPhones before taking them on a trip, cautions Yahoo Travel's Melinda Crow.

Google Inc. Product Launch EventAttendees view Google Inc. Daydream View virtual reality (VR) headsets on display during a product launch event in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. Michael Short — Bloomberg via Getty Images 

Samsung Gear VR ($99.99) or Google Daydream View ($79)

Sometimes the best way to escape from nearby disturbances is to stay preoccupied. A portable virtual reality headset like those made by Samsung (ssnlf) or Google (googl) will certainly get the job done. Both smartphone-powered headsets encapsulate the wearer in full 360-degree apps, completely blocking out the surrounding environment. Since space is limited on an airplane, uses won't get the full effect, but they're still useful for watching videos without distraction or playing simple games. Those who plan to pack the Gear VR or Daydream View on their next flight will need to bring headphones and should ensure they have a compatible phone.

Avegant Glyph 

Avegant Glyph ($549)

The pricey Avegant Glyph may look like a pair of bulky headphones, but the device quite literally beams video straight to your eyeballs. The Glyph is designed to situations exactly like a crowded flight, giving wearers a high-resolution screen that only they can see. But don't mistake the Glyph for a VR headset; rather than enveloping users in a 360-degree digital world, this gadget places a crisp virtual screen in front of the wearer's eyes, simulating the experience of watching a 60-inch TV. The downside: the Glyph must be tethered to a computer, like a smartphone, tablet, or laptop, in order to work.

White Noise App (Free, iOS, Android)

White noise can be particularly soothing for those who have a hard time falling asleep in conditions that are either too noisy or quiet. The White Noise app includes more than 40 looped sounds that vary from household appliances like air conditioners to the sounds of the Amazon jungle or beach waves crashing.

Flight 001 Contoured Eye Mask 

Flight 001 Molded Eye Mask ($18)

For some, drowning out nearby sound is only part of what helps them relax on a long, noisy plane ride. The Flight 001 Molded Eye Mask is an affordable, lightweight option that rests just above the eyes to eliminate light while also remaining comfortable.

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