Noise cancelling headphones are an absolute must for frequent flyers. And I’d argue Bose headsets are among the best, though admittedly a bit overpriced (hey, they’ve gotta pay for all those ads in travel magazines somehow). I’ve had my Bose Quiet Comfort 2 headphones for several years now, and while they run $300, they’re worth every penny if you fly enough.
Bose recently launched the Quiet Comfort 15 headphones. There was no way I was going to spend $300 on a pair of new headphones that are, at best, marginally better. So one of the nice things about Bose is that if anything is wrong with your headphones, they’ll let you exchange them for a new set for a fairly low cost. In my case, since they no longer make the Quiet Comfort 2 headphones, the exchange is to the Quiet Comfort 15 headphones. The “trade in” cost is $90, as opposed to the normal cost of $300.
After emailing Bose customer service and mentioning that the head strap came loose a bit on my old set, they told me I could trade in my current headset for the new version at my local store, which I did. And I flew with my new Quiet Comfort 15 headphones for the first time this weekend.
My verdict? It’s like trying to compare a Porsche 911 and a Porsche 911 S on a highway where the speed limit is 55. Does it really matter whether you can go zero to 60 in 4.5 or 4.7 seconds? In other words, both headsets are amazing.
The noise cancellation is probably marginally better, but then again it’s hard to judge when perceptions play such a large role (when you upgrade to a new product that apparently has better noise reduction, you naturally think the sound is better than on a headset you’ve had for two years).
So are the Quiet Comfort 15 headphones worth $300 if you already have a working pair of Quiet Comfort 2 headphones? No way! Are they worth $300 if you fly enough and don’t currently have proper noise cancelling hedphones? I’d argue absolutely.
I also have the Bose in-ear headphones, which I use while flying when electronic devices aren’t permitted and I still want to listen to the airline audio channels. I also find in-ear headphones to be much, much more comfortable when trying to sleep. It’s impossible for me to sleep with headphones on, as opposed to just small in-ear buds, since on airplanes I sleep with my head against the side of the headrest.
But between the two headphones, I’m covered.
On a totally unrelated note, can anyone explain to me how Bose went from Quiet Comfort 2 to Quiet Comfort 3 to Quiet Comfort 15? I’m curious to see how they’ll outdo themselves next…