The same day the ban was announced, Emirates posted an 18-second video to Twitter that opened with the text, “Who needs laptops and tablets anyway?” It features Jennifer Aniston, an actress, who marvels at all the games and movies available in the seatback console. Not all potential customers were impressed: The first tweet in response came from an International Middle East Media Center employee, who wrote, “@emirates journalists aren't looking to be entertained on long flights. Laptops are necessary to meeting a deadline.”
Royal Jordanian Airlines took perhaps the most novel approach, responding on Twitter in verse (if not quite in metre):
Every week a new ban
Travel to the U.S. since you can
We are now poets because of you son
No one can ruin our in-flight fun
We have good tips for everyone
The airline followed up with a tweet outlining “12 things to do on a 12-hour flight with no laptop or tablet”, although some, like #9 (“Pretend tray table is a keyboard”), might not be too persuasive, nor another suggesting, “do what we Jordanians do best… Stare at each other!”
Few business travellers on a flight from Dubai to New York are going to be content to stare at one another for 14 hours. Cheap tickets may be enough of a consideration to steer some holidaymakers to the affected airlines when they have a choice of routing their flights elsewhere. But for business travellers, time is money; getting work done on the plane is critical. And so a cute video or amateur poem is unlikely to persuade many of them to forfeit their laptops. Ultimately, these attempts at levity by the airlines say less about their sense of humour than about their sense of desperation.