Family-friendly airlines: Emirates, Qatar, British Airways, Lufthansa lead top 20 rankings

Jayme Deerwester

As any parent who's flown with children – especially on long-haul flights – can attest, some airlines understand the stress of family travel more than others. Family services can range from a pair of plastic wings to rolling out the red carpet.

British parenting site Play Like Mum  has ranked 20 carriers from around the world based on whether they offer preboarding for families, meals and entertainment for kids and let you check your stroller and other kid-hauling gear for free. Oh, and they rated seat comfort, too.

For the second year in a row, the site picked Dubai-based Emirates as the most family-friendly carrier. It checked all Play Like Mum's criteria except for lap fees, though to be fair, every airline on their list charges to let children under 2 sit on your lap.

Where Emirates really pulled away from the pack was the little touches that make a difference. In addition to offering family check-in areas and complimentary strollers at certain airports, it offers parents traveling with babies infant kits with extra supplies like diapers, wipes and bibs. Little kids get stuffed animals, while Emirates teamed up with Lonely Planet to create activity packs for elementary-schoolers. And that's on top of the screen-based entertainment.

Qatar Airways jumped from sixth to second this year, bumping British Airways, which tied for first last year, down to third.

American Airlines was the lone U.S.-based carrier to make the list, though it has the dubious honor of boasting the least comfortable seats.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Top 20 Family-friendly airlines: Emirates, British Airways, Lufthansa