A Southwest Airlines plane takes off from Long Beach Airport Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

Long Beach Airport officials are advising travelers to prepare for an increased number of passengers amid the holiday travel rush for the remainder of this year and into early January.

Officials project passenger volumes will near 2019 levels, with an average of more than 82% of the facility’s 46 daily flights forecast to be full. By comparison, only 70% of flights were full during the same period last year.

On some days, upward of 97% of flights will be full, the city announced.

An estimated 72,000 passengers are expected to move through the small municipal airport over the next two weeks, with more than 12,000 on the busiest days.

Airport staff provided the following tips to ensure the “smoothest, stress-free” travel experience:

  • Arrive 90 minutes early, especially for morning flights;
  • Check airlines’ baggage rules and verify flight schedules in advance;
  • Use the free Cell Phone Waiting Lot (3401 N. Lakewood Blvd.) at the entrance to the airport for pickups;
  • Use the center median in front of the historic terminal to access rideshare services;
  • Be aware that self-parking is available in Structure A and B and valet service is located at 4137 Donald Douglas Dr.;
  • Use the LGB Airport app for information on arrivals, departures, parking and shopping;
  • View the airport’s website for accessibility information;
  • Be aware that the pet and service animal relief area is north of the terminal, and travelers should check their airline’s policies for traveling with animals in advance;
  • Visit the U.S. Transportation Security Administration’s “What Can I Bring?” website while packing to ensure faster security check.

“Long Beach Airport—recently named one of the Top Ten in the country by Condé Nast Traveler magazine—is known for offering an easygoing experience that makes us very attractive during the busy holiday season,” Airport Director Cynthia Guidry said in a statement.

In addition to the travel magazine ranking, Long Beach Airport was recently named the best airport for holiday travel by Forbes Advisor. The facility had the third lowest airfare between October and December ($259.47) and the fifth lowest percent of flight cancellations on average (0.82%), according to the study.

On Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons, the airport will feature live musical performances by local artists as part of its LGB Live! Seasonal music series.

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Brandon Richardson is a reporter and photojournalist for the Long Beach Business Journal.