"Frequent Flyer's prayers are answered"4.5 starson by gplummer02
Pros: Very effective noise cancelling on planes, reasonable sound, cheap on EBay, good battery life
Cons: Tangled wires, not audiophile standard reproduction
Summary: I spend a minimum 10hrs / week on long haul flights. My company is cheapskate so most is done in Economy / Coach class. Using the airlines supplied so called "headphones" left me with headaches after having to run them at nearly maximum volume in order to hear dialogue on inflight movies. I've tried Bose QC2's (too bulky to rest your head to the side whilst wearing them but reasonable fidelity) and Shure E2C's (sorry - but noise isolation just ain't the same as noise canceling, unsatisfying fidelity) and the Sony NC-11's are my definite first choice.
Buyers Beware, as the Sony MDR-NC6's are a very poor alternative.
With the noise cancelling on inflight, but not plugged into any sound device, it's like wearing very good ear plus (i.e. you can hear your own breathing). I use them this way to help sleep on overnight flights - it even blocks out 90% of the noise from crying babies! The ear buds fit quite neatly into your ear and allows you to comfortably rest your head sideways onto pillows / headrests etc.
With noise cancelling on inflight I can hear all sound sources (iPod, inflight movies etc.) clearly at very low volumes, meaning I get to where I need to be much more relaxed and refreshed.
Sonically these are OK - noticeably better than the standard iPod earbuds but definitely not a first choice in terms of audiophile fidelity. But then again, you're fooling yourself if you think audiophile fidelity and noisy environments are in any way compatible.
Mine have proven very reliable and trouble free. I like being able to remove and thoroughly hot wash the silicone ear buds and the way the airplane adapator folds down to a more compact size.
What I don't like is the earbud cabling with one wire much longer than the other and no method of winding them up neatly except around the noise cancelling unit which tampers, immediately jetisoning your neat windings into a mess resembling over cooked spaghetti...