I just made the big move from the East Coast to the Middle East - a trip that involved a 14 hour flight across the Atlantic. In typical Unplggd fashion, I was stocked with tech to get me through the ordeal - iPod Touch for games and music, Kindle for reading material, laptop for all other manner of distraction. All of these gadgets were helpful, but nothing had the impact of my Sennheiser noise-cancelling headphones.
You see, the family across the aisle from me had three small children who spent approximately 12 of the 14 hours in the air screaming. I have a lot of sympathy for folks traveling with kids, especially this woman who was traveling alone, but I suspect my sentiment wasn't shared by most of the other people in our section of the aircraft. Me, I barely even noticed the crying thanks to the combination of hard rock on my iPod and the Sennheiser PXC 250-II headphones my lovely husband gave to me.
I fly a lot for work and for fun, and I used to have a pair of Sony noise-cancelling headphones that I thought were pretty decent. They died recently and my husband replaced them with this pair from Sennheiser based on a recommendation from a friend. I can't even begin to explain the dramatic difference between the two, I can only share that despite the three crying children seated approximately 2 feet away from me, I managed to read, listen to music, and even catch a few hours of sleep without a care.
I'll admit that $150 for travel headphones is steep, but in my opinion, these were well worth the investment. The headphones require one AAA battery and fold into their own carrying case which also held my iPod and tucked easily beside me in the seat.