For some airports the opening of a new terminal is an opportunity to show off the latest and greatest in flashy amenities. For the City of Long Beach, the opening of the new and improved Long Beach Airport (LGB)this week was a slightly different affair. Yes, they were showing off their brand new facilities, but it isn't flash that they're going for. The city purposefully built their new terminal—a major upgrade from the temporary trailers of the prior iteration—with a focus on simplicity and keeping costs down.
The new terminal borrows from its environment for aesthetics. Passengers arriving at the airport are immediately welcomed with the flavors of Southern California, and passengers leaving have that local experience extended a few extra hours. Outdoor seating akin to beach resorts, rather than just rows of typical airline benches, are just one of the many ways they have given local flair to the facility.
All of the dining concessions are outlets from Long Beach restaurants; no national chains to be found here. For some passengers the lack of Manchu Wok or McDonald's might be sad at first. After dining in the new terminal, however, the disappointment can't last too long. The 4th Street Vine Bar has a wine steward on staff to help passengers choose the appropriate glass of wine to enjoy. Or passengers can take a meal at McKenna's, an outpost of the renowned waterfront restaurant. A local sushi bar, cantina, burger joint, and bakery round out the dining options in-house.
The concessions area will also feature a number of modern touches. Like many new terminals these days, Long Beach incorporates power outlets in the seating areas. Both regular and USB outlets are also scattered throughout the terminal area. For passengers who do not want to wait in line to order a meal there is also the option to use one of the tablet computers to order a meal delivered to the gate area.
Perhaps the most notable thing missing from the new terminal is jet bridges for boarding. Then again, with around 350 days of sunshine and reasonable temperatures year-round there isn't all that much need for them.
The new Long Beach terminal focuses on simplicity and still manages to deliver an impressive and welcoming facility for passengers. Providing a better experience from the prior terminal wasn't a terrible challenge. Building out one of the most comfortable, welcoming and efficient terminals in the United States—well, that's a different story. Long Beach has met the challenge, delivering a beautiful, functional and local operation which should exceed passenger needs for years to come.
Photo Credits: Courtesy of Seth Miller