Qatar Airways boasted about its more than 3,000 channels in its seat-back entertainment system. Royal Jordanian tried its hand at verse to convince passengers that they can make it through the flight sans tablet.

What’s so hard about encouraging your children to, dare I say it, read a book or look out the window? Well, there isn’t much to look at on an overnight flight, and young children, often the most restless, aren’t reading yet. And kids often need a variety of activities on a long flight, my colleagues with children tell me. A six-year-old is probably not going to sit through The Revenant (sweet dreams!).

(I was also reminded that this is a very serious matter because it is a question of keeping the calm for everyone on board—some airlines have experimented with charging extra for kids-free zones.)

But since these airlines haven’t yet figured out how to install play areas on their airplanes, parents will just have to fill their smartphones with downloaded programming and do their best.

The kids will be fine, but Emirates, you’re going to need a bigger bar.

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