Japan Airlines’ Intriguing Headrest Speakers

Just experienced the top-notch first-class journey aboard Japan Airlines’ Airbus A350-1000, and it left an indelible mark.

Undoubtedly, this ranks among the most outstanding first-class offerings globally, excelling in both the tangible and intangible aspects of the experience.

While I delved into the flight details in a prior segment, this post aims to spotlight a feature of the airline’s premium cabin seats, a novelty we’ve never seen before, and one I eagerly anticipated during my voyage.

Exploring the Intricacies of Japan Airlines’ Cutting-Edge A350 Headphone-

Free Sound Systems The Airbus A350-1000, Japan Airlines’ latest flagship, introduces a completely fresh passenger encounter.

The seat boasts an array of remarkable technological features, with one element arguably stealing the limelight.

Both first and business class seats on this jet showcase the world’s premiere headphone-free stereo feature, presented through integrated headrest speakers. Yes, you read it right – you can literally amplify the audio of your chosen movie, TV show, or music directly through your headrest.

This introduces one of three alternatives for auditory enjoyment via the in-flight entertainment system.

The other two options include using the airline-supplied headphones or connecting your personal Bluetooth-enabled headphones.

The fact that a Japanese airline spearheaded this innovation surprised me, considering the significant emphasis on mutual respect in Japan and the prevailing culture of quietude in various public spaces, like trains.

This technological leap appears more fitting for an airline departing from a bustling hub like Miami, where going about without headphones has become a norm—from hushed business discussions to enjoying a Daddy Yankee music video.

Are Japan Airlines’ In-Seat Speakers a Disruption? Curiosity led me to experience these speakers firsthand. To provide a visual, here’s a glimpse of the first-class headrest, showcasing the pattern, and each widget featuring a built-in stereo.

Upon selecting an option from the in-flight entertainment, you’re prompted to choose your preferred sound output – headphone jack, Bluetooth, or the in-seat speakers. You can also control the volume.

I wondered about the intricacies of these headrest speakers, ensuring you hear the audio without causing disruption to others.

The trick? There isn’t one. It’s simply that your ears are mere inches from the speaker, while the next person is several feet away.

Some Thoughts:

  • At maximum volume, the audio for the person using the headrest speakers is loud enough to catch everything, though it may lack richness, posing a challenge for those with less acute hearing.
  • Others’ audio is audible from a distance but at a very low volume, akin to hearing distant whispers that you can’t fully discern.
  • The A350’s quiet ambiance, especially in first class, contributes to easier audio perception from a distance.
  • Business class seats being closer might pose more disruption, but for those near the engines, engine sounds could potentially drown out any audio.

I had a playful test with a fellow passenger, a Japanese avgeek seated in front, turning on my headrest speaker to maximum volume with J-pop playing. She could hear it in the suite in front but only faintly.


In Conclusion: Japan Airlines’ A350 brings a unique aspect – built-in stereos in first and business class seats, allowing entertainment without headphones.

The technology is as expected – no magic, just decent volume close to the speaker, diminishing with distance. It’s not fully soundproofed; others may catch a whisper of your audio.

Personally, with the option of Bluetooth audio, this technology may seem unnecessary, but it’s undeniably cool!

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