Long Beach ranks as one of the world's top 10 most beautiful airports

Architectural beauty isn't a standard usually applied to airports, but little Long Beach Airport (LGB) has been racking up the accolades.

The BBC on Tuesday selected it as one of the 10 most beautiful airports in the world, the only U.S. site to make the list. Last month Fodor's travel guides chose it as one of the top terminals of 2014.


"The recognition is exciting for us," spokeswoman Kerry Gerot said Wednesday. "We love our airport; our passengers love it too."

Indeed, the Art Deco airport that Gerot says offers a "unique, boutique" experience to the 3 million or so passengers who pass through each year maintains a 4.5 rating (out of 5) on TripAdvisor and Yelp.

So what gives? Chalk one up for the charm of the old -- and the new.

The original Art Deco terminal dates to 1941 and has been carefully preserved over the years. But the $45-million modern passenger terminal that opened in December 2012 carries its own wow factor with an open courtyard lined with palm trees and plants.

The BBC says the upgrade has "brought this much-loved regional airport up to date without losing its Bogart-Bacall-era Hollywood charm." Here, fliers can tour the gorgeous floor mosaics of the old building (which had been covered by carpets for years) and dine in the new terminal that's "open to the California sky."

And one other retro throwback: Passengers take air stairs (or a ramp or a lift) to the planes, not jet bridges.

But back to the BBC list. Long Beach has done well to be in the company of much bigger, swankier airports. Here are the others:

--Terminal 1 at Chek Lap Kok (Hong Kong International)
--Carrasco International Airport (a.k.a. General Cesareo L Berisso) in Montevideo, Uruguay
--Giovanni Nicelli Airport in Venice, Italy
--Barra Airport on the Outer Hebrides, Scotland
--Terminal 1 at Kansai International Airport in Osaka, Japan
--Courchevel Airport in the French Alps (Courchevel, France)
--Queen Tamar Airport in Mestia, Georgia
--Dammam King Fahd International Airport in Dammam, Saudi Arabia
--Hajj Terminal at King Abdul Aziz Airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Whether passengers notice any of this beauty and charm remains to be seen. "No matter how hard even the world's best architects have tried, the airport is a difficult building type with which to fall in love," the BBC story says.