I had the privilege of photographing the unveiling of Long Beach Airport’s upgraded concourse and terminal last December with the Long Beach Post. The event included a ribbon-cutting ceremony and was attended by local dignitaries and media. The waitstaff donned retro flight attendant outfits, complete with a red-striped silk scarf and light wands. Talk about setting the ambiance! At the event, the airport also featured the Catalina Flying Boats’ Douglas DC-3 that acted as a link to the city’s aviation history.
The $45 million project took 2 years and increased the area by 35,000 square feet, the center of which contains a peaceful garden and palm court. The project also includes exhibits that emphasize Long Beach’s extensive history in aviation. As a departure from the sterile and lofty style reminiscent of larger airports such as LAX, Long Beach Airport instead favors patios, fire pits and native plant gardens. In fact, I’d say that people would probably mistake the airport as the lobby to a plush resort!
In addition to the amenities, the airport features local vendors such as Polly’s Coffee, 4th Street Vine, George’s Greek Cafe, Sweet Jill’s Bakery and McKenna’s on the Fly, the sister to McKenna’s on the Bay. This commitment to support small businesses is definitely a bold move, but I think it’s reflective of the Long Beach spirit and introduces weary travelers all that the city has to offer. The businesses is also charging about the same price for their food and products as their customers would get at their other stores in the city, which I’m sure will go far in terms of customer satisfaction.
The concourse and terminal has been open for a few months and people seem to be happy with it. Have you had the opportunity to check it out yet?