Southwest will stop serving peanuts on flights beginning in August, according to USA Today.
“Peanuts forever will be part of Southwest’s history and DNA,” Southwest said in a statement. “However, to ensure the best on-board experience for everyone, especially for customers with peanut-related allergies, we’ve made the difficult decision to discontinue serving peanuts on all flights beginning August 1.”
The move itself is not hugely controversial. Many airlines have stopped serving peanuts on flights as concerns over severe food allergies have increased. The FDA lists peanuts as one of eight “major” food allergen (along with milk, fish, wheat, and others) which together are responsible for 90 percent of all food allergic reactions.
Historically Nuts About Nuts
What makes this move noteworthy, as long-time fans and observer of Southwest know, is that peanuts have long been an integral part of Southwest’s identity. Peanuts, of course, have long been associated with airline travel, but those little bags of nuts were a symbolic token of Southwest’s upbeat, no frills personality. The company’s blog used to be called Nuts About Southwest, for crying out loud, and offered “peanut” fares.
If anything, one wonders what took Southwest so long. Peanuts on flights have been a growing allergy concern for years, and many airlines phased them out already. United, American, JetBlue, notably, do not serve them.
Still, no airline can guarantee a completely nut-free cabin. Passengers can bring peanuts on flights, and some meals or snacks may contain trace amount of peanuts or peanut oil, not to mention other nuts and allergens. Most airline will try to accommodate allergic customers, so it’s always a good idea to call your carrier before traveling or speak to a flight attendant upon boarding.
Readers, will you miss the peanuts onboard Southwest flights? Or are you just as happy with pretzels and other snacks?