General Question

Mtl_zack's avatar

Why do airplane headphones have 2 jacks?

Asked by Mtl_zack (6759points) August 26th, 2008
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

7 Answers

eambos's avatar

For stereo. One is the left ear and the other is the right

mvgolden's avatar

So they can charge you 5 bucks for the headphones to watch a movie with all the good scenes deleted on 13” TVs that are 10 rows away that are all red and can’t keep a vhold.

roadventer's avatar

I think the benefit of the 2-jack design is that it makes the headsets incompatible with common consumer devices, and thereby deters passengers from taking them off the plane. (Airlines do typically hand out the headsets at no additional charge to passengers, and they are easy to walk away with.)

sndfreQ's avatar

The larger dual-jack receptacles are larger and less prone to damage and shorting than the 3.5mm mini-jacks commonly found in consumer electronics (less prone to breakage). As they are two separate jacks, the individual ports are easy to repair and can withstand the rigors of constant jacking and abuse.

Simply put, the standard dual-jack is older, more universal in commercial grade applications, and prior to electronic wiring, these same jacks actually had tiny speakers that transmitted acoustic audio down tubes without wires (as in stethescope technology). Those old enough to remember traveling in the ‘70s remember the old tube-tech.

andrew's avatar

@sndfreq: The 70’s?! I remember airtube headphones in the early ‘90s!

mvgolden's avatar

@sndfreQ I remember those acoustic tubes, but I don;t think they were inside the dual prong jacks of today.

sndfreQ's avatar

@mvgolden-yeah you’re right-they wet quite larger back then, but the convention stuck; plus I believe the aviation industry has ymthe monopoly on those-haven’t seen any other application of those-even Plantronics com systems are moving away from that format because of digital (USB Audio and Cat5/6e cabling for all-digital), and/or wireless such as Bluetooth and IR/UHF.

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