Travel

Airplane seat with headphones in the headrest

Editor’s note. The Monthly Pass is CNN’s travel series that highlights some of the most interesting topics in the travel world. In June, we’ll take to the skies to see the latest developments in aircraft interiors, including the people working to change the way we fly.

Hamburg, Germany (CNN) – As wireless headphones become more common, standard aviation headphones, with their tangled cables and multi-pin connectors, seem increasingly outdated.

Sure, you can now connect personal headphones to some in-flight entertainment systems, but will your batteries last long haul, and are you willing to risk losing your expensive earphone in the seat mechanism, never to be seen again? ?

Meet Euphony, a new aircraft seat concept from French aircraft interior designer Safran Seats, created in collaboration with audio technology company Devialet.

Euphony eliminates the need for a personal headset. Instead, each individual seat’s headrests feature speakers with enhanced sound levels so passengers can enjoy their choice of in-flight entertainment without being overheard or disturbed by neighbors.

Safran unveiled the concept this month at the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg, Germany, and CNN Travel got the chance to enter Euphony’s “experience room” to test out what could be the next generation of in-flight entertainment.

Convenient setup

Euphony is designed for business or first class cabins.

Saffron

At first glance, the AIX prototype looks like a regular business-class seat. Safran has made only minor aesthetic changes to the design of the headrest.

But the difference is clear once in-flight entertainment is turned on. The sound begins to burst out of the headrest, the hum of the pre-recorded sounds of the aircraft’s engines already echoing through the experiment room.

The trailer for Marvel’s recent Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness plays on screen. Atmospheric music plays over the headrest before the system switches to a couple of different audio experiences, including a podcast, for comparison.

It takes me a while to position the headrest in the perfect spot – for the best sound quality you want it to be as close to your ears as possible.

But once everything is set up correctly, the personal speakers seem to work well. The hum of a simulated aircraft engine becomes pretty much background noise, and my attention is focused on what I see and hear.

The Euphony isn’t a replacement for cocoon-like noise-canceling headphones, but it’s a comfortable setup that’s more like watching a movie on the couch. It would be ideal if you were flying with someone else and wanted to chat and socialize while watching a movie in tandem.

In the AIX demo room, it’s hard to tell if there’s really no sound leakage, since there’s only one Euphony layout. But the fact that you can’t right…

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