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Headset Showdown: Bose A20 vs A30, Clarity Aloft, and Pro Flight 2

When it comes to aviation headsets, there are numerous options available for pilots, flight instructors, and aviation enthusiasts. In this blog post, we'll delve into a recent discussion held by Dylan, Max, and Joel on their podcast about different headset models, specifically the Bose A20, A30, Clarity Aloft, and Bose ProFlight Series 2. We'll explore the pros and cons of each, as well as some personal experiences and preferences.

Bose A20 and A30 Headsets

The Bose A20 has been a popular choice among pilots for years, and the recently released Bose A30 promises some upgrades and improvements. Dylan and Max discussed their reasons for not reviewing the A30, mainly due to Max's belief that the A20 and A30 are overkill for flying a jet. He explained that many professional pilots wear A20s, but he personally finds them too heavy and noise-canceling unnecessary for extended use in a jet.

Max prefers the lightweight Clarity Aloft headset, which clips around the ears instead of going over the head. He finds it more comfortable for long flights and appreciates that it allows him to hear more ambient noise in the cockpit. However, he did acknowledge that some pilots may not like having something in their ears for extended periods.

Dylan mentioned that the A20 is still holding its value on the market, even with the release of the A30. One listener who tried the A30 rated it a 6 out of 10, expressing surprise that it was considered an upgrade or a new model. The listener did appreciate the adjustable noise-canceling feature, which could be helpful in situations where too much noise reduction might be an issue.

Clarity Aloft Headset

Clarity Aloft is a lightweight, in-ear headset that has become popular among pilots who prefer not to have a bulky headset on their head. The unique design clips around the ears and features earplugs, making it comfortable for extended periods. Both Max and Dylan have used Clarity Aloft and generally prefer it over the Bose A20 for flying jets.

Dylan mentioned that the only downside he found with the Clarity Aloft headset was compatibility issues with the intercom system in the Challenger jet he was flying. However, he noted that this issue may have been resolved in newer models. Additionally, the newer Clarity Aloft models may offer Bluetooth capabilities, which was lacking in the older versions.

Bose ProFlight Series 2 Headset

Dylan uses the Bose ProFlight Series 2 headset, which is another in-ear option with a band that goes over the head. He appreciates the ability to remove one earpiece easily when communicating with passengers or crew members. The ProFlight Series 2 also offers adjustable noise-canceling and Bluetooth connectivity.

Max and Dylan noted that they usually don't use the noise-canceling feature in their respective in-ear headsets, as they find it unnecessary in jets. They also discussed the possibility of getting custom earpieces from aftermarket vendors to improve comfort and fit.

In conclusion, selecting the ideal aviation headset is a matter of personal preference, taking into account the specific needs of the pilot and the type of aircraft being flown. For those who prioritize comfort during extended flights and operate quieter aircraft like jets, lightweight in-ear headsets such as Clarity Aloft and the Bose ProFlight Series 2 are excellent options. Conversely, pilots who require superior noise-canceling capabilities and fly louder aircraft, like turboprops or piston-engine planes, may find the Bose A20 and A30 more suitable.


When choosing a headset, it's crucial to consider factors like comfort, noise reduction, and compatibility with the aircraft's intercom system. Additionally, pilots should explore options such as adjustable noise-canceling features and Bluetooth connectivity to enhance their flying experience. By carefully weighing the pros and cons of various models and taking personal preferences into account, pilots can find the perfect headset to meet their unique needs and preferences in the cockpit.

You can hear the full conversation in episode 97, time stamps below:

[00:17:43] Intro to headset discussion

[00:18:28] Clarity Aloft in-ear headset mentioned

[00:19:38] Bose Pro Flight headset mentioned

[00:21:13] Acquiring A20 headsets during COVID

[00:23:32] Listener review of A30 headset

[00:24:34] Dylan's experience with Pro Flight 2

[00:25:21] Advantages of in-ear headsets

[00:26:06] Custom ear molds for in-ear headsets

[00:27:00] Compatibility issues with the Clarity Aloft headset and Challenger intercom system

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