Noise-cancelling headphones such as the popular Bose QC series have been banned from flights to the USA and the UK under strict new rules regarding inflight electronics.
A spokesperson for the US Transportation Security Administration has confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that any pair of noise-cancelling headphones "larger than the size of a smartphone" will be treated the same as devices such as tablets, laptops and ebook readers under sweeping security regulations introduced last week in the USA and the UK.
The inflight electronics ban decrees that all electronic devices larger than a smartphone cannot be brought onto the aircraft in passengers' carry-on bags, and must instead be stowed in checked luggage.
Noise-cancelling headphones from Bose, Audio-Technica, Sony and Sennheiser are considered must-have kit by business travellers and frequent flyers when it comes to watching videos or listening to music on their own devices or the aircraft's entertainment system.
Compact models such as the Bose QC20s in-ear headphones (below) can still be taken onto the flight, as they are smaller than a smartphone...
... but larger over-the-ear models will have to be packed up with your laptop and sent through as checked luggage.
"Electronic headsets/headphones fall under the definition of electronics" the TSA spokesperson told Australian Business Traveller. "If they are larger than the size of a smartphone then they would need to go into checked baggage."
While there has been some misinformation about the newer generation of noise-cancelling headphones fitted with Bluetooth, such as the Bose QC35s, the TSA spokesperson said that the presence of wireless technology wasn't a factor, but product size was.
With regard to "disabling the Bluetooth feature, it would still need to go into checked baggage if the device was larger than a smartphone, regardless of whether the Bluetooth feature was disabled," the spokesperson clarified.