Using your own headphones on a flight is easy if you have the right tools, writes Eli Orzessek.

I have some Bose noise-cancelling headphones and take them with me every time I fly. My question is in relation to the airline headsets provided in Business Class that have the three-pin plug set-up. Since there is a corresponding three-pin socket, my headphones are redundant, however on a long-haul flight the airline's headsets hurt my ears after about 10 hours as they sit on my ears and not over them. Do you know of a three-pin adapter that would enable me to use my own headphones?
Jill Hobdon

In Economy Class, you'll notice the headphone socket takes two pins. The reason for the third pin in some business class seats is to provide power to the noise cancelling headphones they offer. As your headphones will have their own power source, you'll just need an adaptor to turn one pin into two and you can ignore the third.

When I bought my headphones, this adaptor was included, but you can purchase them at electronics shops or at the airport. Just remember to take them with you afterwards - I've left a couple behind before!

Readers respond:


Here are some responses I received that couldn't fit in my column last week, as well as some hot tips for sleeping on a plane.

On visiting Vietnam in July

"I have been up there a few times but never as late as June or July - until last year. Not much rain but extremely high humidity and at least 37 degrees in Hanoi and Hoi An and it was a relief to get back to a 'cool' 32 in Saigon.

"It is not uncommon for Hoi An to be under a metre of water when the river rises and the only way to traverse the streets is by boat. I will be sticking to Feb/Mar/Apr for future visits."
- Dave Barker

"We bought a trip on Grab One last year with Go Asia Travel. This trip took place late June to early July, had to wait for about 1 hour in Hoi An as the heavens opened, but that was all, and nothing was cancelled or delayed. So late June, July is quite okay, just like you can get unexpected weather changes in NZ regularly."
- Alison and Rodney Woodcock

Two readers wrote in about the problems of long-haul shut-eye:
"I heard once that the G forces off take-off assist you in getting to sleep. If you lean back and close your eyes on take-off, nine times out of 10 you'll be asleep before you know it."
- Justine

"I, too, made a long-haul flight and the travel agent or flight insurer could have and should have advised me to wear pressure socks as I had answered a health question as 'yes' to type 2 diabetes.

"I repeatedly exercised my ankles, but despite this, not long after my feet and ankles swelled up. Though I am not a pharmacist I believe taking a sleeping aid while on a long-haul flight could be dangerous. I believe passengers in Economy - where leg space is extremely limited - could put themselves at risk of developing a DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis). It is also my understanding that if alcohol is consumed around the same time as taking the sleeping aid the interaction between the alcohol and the sleeping aid may cause a negative interaction ... Worrying, no?"
- Ian Matheson


I was also asked about how to get sleeping pills and should have mentioned you will definitely need a prescription for them. Tell your doctor what you need them for and they will be able to judge if it's in your best interests or not. Otherwise, there are natural sleep supplements - but the reader above said he wouldn't trust those either. I also get paranoid about DVT while flying, but at the same time, you can't stay awake for the whole 17 hours or you'll lose the plot. Try setting a few alarms to get up and walk around in between. Just make sure you don't sleep through your alarms or you'll drive your fellow passengers to distraction.

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