Classic Country

LA International Airport Song Meaning

todayAugust 12, 2023 210 11 5

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“L.A. International Airport” is a country-pop song performed by Susan Raye. The song was written by Leanne Scott, and first recorded by David Frizzell. Her version was released in 1971 as a single from her album, “Willy Jones.” The song became one of her most well-known hits and is often associated with her career. In 2003, it was proclaimed to be the official song of Los Angeles International Airport. For me, while the lyrics were above my head at the time, the song was a thrilling, unrealized call west.

As an adult, I still love the song and turn the volume up when it plays on our stream.

Let’s dive into the meaning of LA International Airport. There’s much more underneath than just the famous setting. The song tells a story of heartbreak and departure at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The lyrics suggest a woman is told by her significant other that their relationship is over. “Says he doesn’t love me anymore.” She packs her bag, calls a cab, and heads to LAX, feeling anxious about what seems like a forced decision to depart from the life she knew.

The entire experience is emotional and chaotic. All at once, she is ending a relationship and navigating her way through one of the busiest airports in the world, which can be sensory overload. It seems like a heavy layer over heartbreak.

While moving through the bustling airport and making her way to the plane, she encounters a variety of travelers, who all come together to take the flight. From a hollywood star, a hippie and a diplomat to college kids returning home, she reminds the listener that hers’ is but one of the stories on the plane. It’s worth noting that air travel brings all walks of life and many individual stories together with a common purpose, to arrive at a new destination.

While Raye never mentions which airline she is flying, the lyrics imply that it is United Airlines, whose slogan, at the time she recorded the song, was “Fly The Friendly Skies.”

“Captain’s voice so loud and clear, amplifies into my ear, assuring me I’m flying friendly skies.”

Even in the most uncertain times, there are moments of clarity. In “L.A. International Airport,” this moment arrives when she looks out of the plane window and sees her suitcase on the baggage cart. Even though she is on the plane, the sight of her bag taking the same journey, in parallel, is what brings her to the realization that her relationship and time in Los Angeles are really over, and she is leaving her life behind for a new chapter. It’s a poignant point of quiet reflection in an otherwise noisy moment in her life.

The song was Susan Raye’s most recognizable hit. It reached number 9 on the Billboard Country Singles Chart and 54 on the Billboard Hot 100. Her chart success with the single was even bigger outside of the United States. It reached number 1 in New Zealand and number 2 in Australia, making it an international hit.

Susan Raye was discovered in Portland, Oregon by Buck Owens’ manager, Jack McFadden. He arranged for her to travel to Bakersfield to meet with Buck Owens, and if you are a Hee Haw fan, the rest is history. They became successful duet partners, while also achieving success as solo artists at the same time. It was unusual for a country singer to find success without coming up through the Nashville system. Yet, Susan Raye did by coming through the “Bakersfield sound,” which Buck Owens and Merle Haggard were popularizing at the time.

In 2003, Susan Raye performed the song at LAX for its 75th anniversary celebration, a rare, public appearance after her retirement from the industry in 1986.

I wish I had been there…

They lyrics are incorrect in different corners of the internet. These are the correct lyrics. Feel free to play the song from the video embed, scroll down to the lyrics, and loudly sing along to celebrate Susan Raye.

Video for L.A International Airport


Lyrics for L.A. International Airport

Standing in that silent hall

Waitin’ for that final call

Says he doesn’t love me anymore

Shakin’ hands, I pack a bag

Tremblin’ voice, I call a cab

Slowly, I start walkin’ through the door


The cab arrives, he blows his horn

I stumble out in the early morn’

Tell him of the place I’ve got to go

Hit a hundred signal lights

Peterbilts in a traffic fight

Gettin’ through these doors has been so slow


L.A. International Airport

Where the big jet engines roar

L.A. International Airport

I won’t see him anymore.


Stewardess in a mini-skirt

A Hippie in a leather shirt

Starlet on her way to Naples, Rome

While I’m wonderin’ where it’s at

I see a Paris diplomat

College kids are tryin’ to get back home


Baggage cart goes quickly by

See my case, and I start to cry

Stumble to the lounge to be alone

And while I’m tryin’ to get some rest

I bite my lips and try my best

To fight the pain that’s makin’ me leave home


L.A. International Airport

Where the big jet engines roar

L.A. International Airport

I won’t see him anymore


With Silver wings across the sky

Vapor trails that wave goodbye

To those below who’ve got to stay at home

I wish that I had flown at night

So I could take that Champagne flight

Rid myself of every tear I own


Soaring high above the heavens

In a seven-forty-seven

Fighting back the tears that curse my eyes

Captain’s voice so loud and clear

Amplifies into my ear

Assuring me I’m flying friendly skies


L.A. International Airport

Where the big jet engines roar

L.A. International Airport


I won’t see him anymore.

Written by: Nick Rainey

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