Here’s an easy way to avoid one pesky airline charge: Bring your own earphones to listen to in-flight music, TV, and movies. A number of U.S. airlines charge economy-class passengers a fee to purchase or borrow headsets, including American ($2), Continental ($1), Delta ($2), and US Airways ($5). These airlines generally provide free earphones in economy on some international flights, and always in business and first-class, but most coach passengers are out of luck.
By carrying your own earphones, not only will you avoid these fees, you’ll likely have a better headset than the airline’s flimsy, poor-sound-quality models. I myself like the Bose noise-cancelation headphones ($299-$349), which are also great for blocking out noisy seatmates.
If you’d rather not have one more item to cram into your carry-on, some airlines do offer free (albeit mediocre) earphones. This group includes AirTran, JetBlue (you can upgrade to nicer earphones for $1), and United. Northwest (except Asia service) and Southwest don’t offer in-flight entertainment in coach, so there’s no need to worry.
Have a great travel tip you’d like to share? Send your insider travel strategies to email@example.com.
We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.