The Little Airport That Can

Long Beach Airport by HOK
- Courtesy Photos

– Courtesy Photos

Long Beach Airport has been selected as a Top 10 airport for second consecutive year


The first transcontinental flight, a biplane flown by Calbraith Perry Rodgers, landed in 1911 on the sand in Long Beach. In 1919, the first flight school was started right here by Earl S. Daugherty.

The little city airport attracted not only the United States Navy, but the Army Air Corp.

Truly, the Long Beach Airport is the little airport that not only thinks it can; it does.

The airport has not only been named a Top 10 airport in the United States by readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine for the second consecutive year, it is now in the running for another reader’s choice award from USA Today.

The recognition from the readers of Condé Nast Traveler cited the new concourse, the classic 1940’s style terminal aesthetic and the outdoor wine bar as some of the reasons LBG ranks among one of the best.

The contest by USA Today aims to find the Readers’ Choice for Best Airport Dining for 2016. LGB’s nomination is still in the top spot. The official winner will be announced on March 10.

Food and restaurants in the airport showcase the taste of local Long Beach favorites. Passengers can munch on a taco from Taco Beach Cantina with a view of palm trees just outside, savor the flavor of the Greek cuisine from George’s Greek Café, or grab a drink at 4th Street Wine and Beer. And those are only three of the seven places you can grab a bite while you wait for your flight.

It’s not just the convenience of skipping LAX and local eateries that make LBG special – an active social media presence makes LBG an engaging character of Long Beach.

Local Long Beach musicians are featured on the Long Beach Airport SoundCloud account. The playlist series titled The Takeoff is distributed online about every month via SoundCloud, and it is currently on its 11th volume in the series of playlists.  The Takeoff  Vol. XI the latest playlist compilation features nine songs and includes music by local acts like Breatherrr, Cavaller and Good Fingers.

As if that isn’t enough, Southwest Airlines has confirmed that it soon could be one of the new service providers at the Long Beach Airport.

In a press release Gary Kelly, Southwest’s chairman, president and chief executive acknowledged that this bid would make Long Beach an addition to the carrier’s presence in Los Angeles area with current flights at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, Ontario International Airport  and LAX.

The announcement to serve Long Beach was announced by Kelly at a Southwest employment rally in Las Vegas on Wednesday in which he confirmed interest and application process with the Long Beach Airport for Southwest service in 2016.

American Airlines, Delta and JetBlue also submitted applications for the proposed nine new flights, but Southwest is likely to get priority because the airline carrier does not currently serve the airport.

The Edge spoke with Long Beach Airport Director Bryant Francis to learn more about LBG’s future projects and the airports commitment to creating an engaging experience for travelers that are symbolic of the diversity that Long Beach has to offer.

RT Paradies LGB Lifestyle-8242

Modern Airport extension added to historic airtraffic control tower and check-in area

Modern Airport extension added to historic air traffic control tower and check-in area.

The Edge: This is the second consecutive year Long Beach Airport has made the Condé Nast Traveler top 10 list. How is this recognition a reflection of the service Long Beach Airport provides to its passengers?

Bryant Francis: Condé Nast Traveler’s Best and Worst Airports in America: Readers’ Choice Awards 2015 is determined by their readers. So this honor has been bestowed upon us by passengers who had an experience at LGB that left an impression with them.

Perhaps they enjoyed our historic and charming main terminal, our ease and accessibility upon arrival, the scenic courtyard garden with views of the airfield, our high quality of care and service, or the modern passenger concourses with free Wi-Fi—most likely it was some combination of all of these features.

What it tells us for certain is that the effort that our staff put into providing an easygoing and comfortable way to travel is being noticed, and appreciated. There is no higher honor than to hear that expressed directly from our customers.

The Edge: What is the importance of having local restaurants that showcase Long Beach as opposed to fast food chains inside the airport?

Bryant Francis: We’re extremely proud to be a part of a community with such an incredible array of dining options.

Bringing some of those well-known, independent establishments into our passenger concourses introduces visitors to the delicious flavors, high quality and affordable prices that have made Long Beach a foodie favorite in recent years.

The Edge: How is music for The Takeoff chosen? Where did this playlist idea come from?

Bryant Francis: The inspiration to create the free SoundCloud playlist, named The Takeoff, came from the work that our Public Affairs office does to stay engaged with our followers on social media.

For many people, music is an important part of traveling, and connecting with them on SoundCloud seemed like a natural extension of our commitment to providing our guests with a unique travel experience.

The Edge: What is the importance of promoting local musicians through this SoundCloud account?

Bryant Francis: If you’re a visitor to the city you may have heard about our lively music scene, but maybe you don’t have time to check out a show in person.

These playlists are free and easy to access, so the hope is that we can help introduce people to Long Beach artists at their convenience.

The Edge: Are these playlist only online via SoundCloud or is it incorporated into the airport experience for passengers?

Bryant Francis: At the moment, The Takeoff is only available online or through the mobile SoundCloud app, but we promote the playlists on our social media channels and we hope that everyone has a chance to enjoy the sounds that make Long Beach such a musically diverse place.

The Edge: Any new or recent additions to the airport that we should know about?

Bryant Francis: Recently, the Annual Noise Budget Analysis and Evaluation indicated that noise generated at the airport has reduced to the point that there is room within the allowed budget for nine additional flight slots, and we have notified all airlines that they are welcome to express their interest in applying for these new slots if they wish.

An important note is that these additional flight slots do not in any way violate or weaken the Noise Ordinance. In fact, the Noise Ordinance requires us to make additional flight slots available when our noise levels are low enough to accommodate them, so abiding by this requirement, and increasing the minimum number of daily commercial flight slots from 41 to 50, is really the best thing we can do to ensure that the Noise Ordinance remains protected and in place.

In addition, JetBlue Airways, LGB’s dominant carrier, has issued a request for a U.S. Customs facility to accommodate international travel at Long Beach Airport.  The airport is negotiating with an experienced firm to produce a feasibility study. Both of these issues are currently going through their respective processes, including City Council contract award approval for the feasibility study.

To listen to local musicians featured on The Takeoff visit

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