The Next Generation of Inflight Noise Cancelling Has no Headphones
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
In a quiet nod to a better aircraft experience, Panasonic recently introduced its newest Active Noise Control technology, which can reduce cabin noise without the need for headphones.
TPG was among the first to test the new technology at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany. Panasonic built a special sound booth complete with full-size, business-class seats to show how they are using sound and light technology to help passengers achieve the optimal rest environment at 35,000 feet.
David Bartlett, Panasonic Avionics chief technology officer, explained that traditional noise-canceling headphones can work well to block noise for many passengers but headphones make sleeping on a plane uncomfortable — unless you are upright or on your back.
So Panasonic sound engineers developed technology that allows the noise to be canceled by predicting and blocking the loud noise from aircraft engines.
Unwanted noise is replaced with ambient white noise and other soothing sounds, by strategically placing speakers around the cabin to combat the engine sound during flight.
My experience in a business-class seat in Panasonic’s sound lab allowed me to turn the noise canceling in the cabin on and off with the push of a button. The high-end sounds of the engine simulator were definitely diminished; unfortunately, the low-end sounds were still prevalent.
Panasonic also adds sounds to the sleep cycle, at the same time as canceling unwanted ones — birds chirped as the sun rose through special mood lighting and the experience was not unlike a gentle, though rapid, sunrise.
For passengers in enclosed suites like the new Emirates 777 Suite the news is even better. This technology adapts well to the high walls of a suite and can theoretically be controlled by passengers adjusting noise-canceling speakers within the suite itself, rather than around the cabin.
The bad news is that this technology won’t be coming to a coach cabin anytime soon. Speakers must be positioned in the cabin in such a way that passengers crammed into window seats underneath speakers won’t benefit from the noise-canceling technology.
Featured Image by Zach Honig / The Points Guy
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees