Zakynthos Airport with a Toddler

Holiday airports suck. It’s a fact. The air-con never works, there’s never enough chairs and pre-boarding with your young kids really goes out the window when you have to go by bus to the airplane. So how best to cope with this one?

Impressively, Zakynthos airport (that linked page is amazing, people slagging it off and others defending it to the death) was only built in 2008 but looks like they maybe ran out of money. Don’t get me wrong, we checked in quickly and the passport and security check queues went quickly, but there could definitely be some improvements.

Food: There was one cafe, with quite a lot of chairs and tables, before security. We went ahead and stopped there, as we’d heard there were seating issues on the other side (mostly unfounded from our experience, despite the many flights that evening). Apart from the fly issue, it was pleasant enough. Getting over the fly issue was tough though given the swarms coming at us from all angles. By the way, if you like coffee, actual coffee, don’t order coffee and expect the barmaid to use the lovely espresso machine she’s standing next to. Before you can shout ‘no!!!!!’ she will scoop that nescafe bullshit into some hot water. I really must learn what to order, as ordering cappuccino also resulted in a sachet being produced. Past security there was another similar cafe, also with no pricing. It wasn’t expensive, but when you’re trying to work out how to spend your last euro coins, it would be helpful to know if you’re about to pay 1 euro or 3 for a bottle of the wet stuff. We only had some snack food because we didn’t want the embarrassment of not having enough cash and zero clue what anything costed.

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Very restless Ninja, 3 hours before the flight

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Loos: Pre-security you get clean but with no seats (and obviously no soap or hot water), post-security you get filthy but with seats. Choose your poison. For non-parents, let me tell you, hoovering your kid over a toilet whilst praying to the gods of wee that neither of you get covered in it, is quite a workout. Another watchout is that the cleaners left their products, with only Greek writing on the sinks, which are easily mistaken when playing hunt the soap.

I love the frankness of this broken hand-dryer.

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Baby Changing: I chose pre-security for the Ninja’s nappy. Bad call. The room that has the baby changing sign is brilliantly taken over by the cleaner. The marble table is under a boiler that must pre-date the airport itself by a good few years. At least I could use her shower gel (on the sink, I didn’t go riffling through anyone’s stuff, I swear!) as hand soap. Post-security there’s a room labelled ‘nursery’ which has the same skull-busting marble surfaces, but at least is a decent size and boiler free.

Shops: The duty free shop, and everything else, is past security. There is a decent sized shop, with a big toy section for bribery. Chocolate only seems to be sold in vats larger than a Trunki and there’s a large collection of imported, unsurprisingly expensive Hershey’s Chocolate products. Weirdness. What is missing (from what we could find) was any kind of shop selling magazines. Having thoroughly destroyed her Hello Kitty magazine over the week, I was hoping to find something, even in Greek would be fine. But there didn’t seem to be anything.

At least there are iPads in this world and Ninja can manage to sleep through take off, the whole 3 hour flight, and landing. She’s got baby skilz.

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Verdict: Change your babies after security (unless of course you have a explosive emergency on your hands), be prepared with child-entertainment in advance and figure out how to order a real coffee before your holiday.

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