Even with the great selection of noise-canceling headphones that are on the market today, JetBlue continues to offer something far less private to its first-class customers: a pair of open-backed Grado SR60e headphones, as the company proudly advertises on its website (as spotted by this Reddit thread). JetBlue has offered the Grado cans since introducing its Mint suites several years ago, and has apparently not yet been swayed to switch them out.
As everyone who has ever been on a plane knows, the best way to enjoy your potentially hours-long flight is by making sure as much ambient noise from the roaring engines, chattering passengers, and screaming babies makes it to your ears as possible. Similarly, your fellow first-class passengers will no doubt enjoy being subjected to whatever movies or music you’re listening to on your open-back headphones.
According to JetBlue, some of the first-class Mint suites (i.e., seats) that receive this perk each have their own door. That will probably solve the issue of using an incredibly leaky pair of headphones since, as the picture shows, they are completely open at the top. It’s a vicious cycle of noise pollution, too: if everyone is using a pair of open-back headphones, you’ll probably want to crank the volume on yours to drown out the noise, annoying your fellow first-class travelers even more, who will then raise their own volume...
There are so many good noise-canceling headphones out there — or, at the very least, closed-back headphones that don’t offer the ability for your music to leak out as a main feature. So it’s almost impossible to understand why JetBlue choose the SR60e headphones. Maybe this whole thing is secretly an attempt for JetBlue to strike back at the first-class-flying 1 percent by subtly torturing them with open-back headphones.
The Grado headphones are offered on JetBlue’s “Mint” first-class flights, which are available on “select coast-to-coast and Caribbean routes.” Then again, if you’re a person who can afford first-class tickets, you’re probably using something like Sony’s top-tier 1000X M3 noise-canceling headphones, not a mere $79 pair of free airline headphones.
Update September 20th 11:15AM ET: This story has been revised to reflect that JetBlue has been offering the Grado headphones on its flights for several years.