Subscribe for 33¢ / day

A luggage tag emblazoned with the "FLY SUX" logo is available at Sioux City Gifts, along with other SUX-themed merchandise. When given the unflattering moniker, Sioux Gateway Airport decided to own it, then capitalize on it.

We're defining Siouxland in 150 icons. Follow along at

SIOUX CITY | Sometimes, you just have to take lemons and turn them into lemonade.

That's what Sioux Gateway Airport did when it was handed the unflattering airport designation, SUX, by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Not that it didn't try to get rid of the moniker first.

In 1988, locals enlisted the Iowa congressional delegation to petition the FAA for something different. When the FAA's five alternatives -- GWU, GYO, GYT, SGV and GAY -- were also deemed unacceptable, officials here gave up and accepted SUX.

First, they owned it. Then, they capitalized on it.

George and LuAnne Lindblade began offering SUX-themed merchandise at their store, Sioux City Gifts. Years later, they're still selling it. T-shirts, mugs, beanies, luggage tags all emblazoned with the "FLY SUX" logo.

There's a "The Joy of SUX" T-shirt for the ladies, as well as a "Flood SUX" T-shirt, a likely shout-out to the destructive Missouri River flood of 2011. There is also the seasonal "Winter SUX" T-shirt.

The logo got more publicity than city leaders could have ever imagined.

A Journal story about the logo was picked up by the Associated Press. Versions of it ran in the New York Times, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal. It was covered by the Chicago Tribune, a story about it is still on the website of the LA Times and it was featured on NBC's Today Show.

Even Sioux Gateway's website -- -- embraces the logo.


Load comments