We once flew Air France from NY to Paris and I am now converted. Not that the seats were any more comfortable, the food was any better or the staff were any nicer, but for the simple reason that every seat in economy had a TV. Its true. Mounted on the seat in front of you is a television with half a dozen movie channels and various other programs including a continuous cartoon channel which kept our daughter occupied every waking hour of the flight. It was the best flight I have ever been on with her, in fact there were times I wished we could have taken that seat with us to use in Greece. If you are not so lucky as to have a TV in the seat in front of you then bring plenty of stuff for your child to do. Coloring books are essential. Now, many other airlines have these TV’s so ask. If your flight is a Boeing 777 or an Airbus there is a good chance you will have your own TV in economy. Now with mini DVDs and iPods that have video, keeping kids occupied is not as hard as it used to be and you are not at the mercy of whoever chooses the movies they show on the flight.
After a grueling 10 hour flight from America, the wait at passport control and the chaos of the baggage carousel, the last thing in the world we want to do is deal with standing on line to get a taxi. I am a firm believer in transfers rather then trying your luck with the masses outside the terminal. For thirty dollars George Kokkotos, Athens most famous taxi driver is there waiting for us as we walk out the door into the arrivals terminal. He greets us and insists that he carry my heaviest bags to his car waiting right outside the door and we are on our way. Before we know it we are at our hotel rather then sitting in another taxi still trying to explain how to get there. George carries our bags into the lobby and is gone as quickly as he appeared, having made this first transition completely painless.
With the time change you may completely beat after your long flight but that does not mean your child will be. In fact you may take your first walking tour of the Plaka completely against your will only because your child will not let you do otherwise. Don’t worry about it. There will be time for relaxation and if you and your mate can work in shifts during these first few brutal hours things will come together smoothly. Otherwise make sure you get a hotel in Athens with a TV or a baby-sitting service. The great thing about children is that they can sit for hours watching cartoons even if they are in Greek and they can’t understand a word.