I suppose the reason why airlines stick with using those annoying two-headed jacks for inflight entertainment is to discourage people from stealing headsets (who'd want to do that anyway given the terrible sound?). But what if you want to use your own?

Here’s a great solution. Buy a set of earphones, often known as canalphones or in-ear phones. Make sure that these have earbuds or tips that seal well. It doesn’t have to be expensive but sound quality goes up as prices do. Me? I use the Etymotic ER-4P.

In addition, get an airline adapter. It’s a little plastic gadget that you jack your earphones into. It in turn jacks into the two-headed jack on your armrest. Most audio stores stock this for a few dollars.

Voila! You get better sound, better isolation (they double as earplugs now). You can also turn on the inflight entertainment the moment you are seated and no longer have to wait for cabin crew to come round with the crappy headsets. And, when everyone else has to return their headsets 30 minutes before landing? Yep, you get to finish that movie and gloat while everyone else jealously wishes they'd done the same.

PS: These earphones work well as earplugs on those long bus or train journeys too.

Follow Asia-Pacific travel editor Shawn Low on Twitter.

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