Southwest Airlines Is Ditching Peanuts on Planes

The company wants to make flights safe for travelers who are allergic to the classic airline snack.

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Photo by: gchutka

gchutka

If you’re a frequent Southwest Airlines flyer, you may want to take a few of those free drink coupons with you on your next flight, just to smooth out the shock of the company’s recently announced snack change: As of next month, the airline will no longer serve peanuts on any of its flights, due to concerns over passenger allergies.

"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."

Don’t worry. The low-cost flyer, which used to run ads touting its peanuts and boasting that their low fares meant you could "fly for peanuts," will still offer the pretzels its passengers also enjoy, as well as cookies, so you should be adequately covered for any sweet or salty cravings that might hit you mid-air.

And Southwest is banking on travelers getting over it, offering this perspective in its statement: "We’ll miss the peanuts, but, at the end of the day, it’s our Southwest employees and the hospitality they deliver that set us apart, far more than peanuts ever could."

Given peanuts’ long-time status as the go-to snack aboard Southwest flights — it was the first airlines to serve only peanuts on flights, way back in 1970 — you may have expected that people would be going nuts about the news on social media. The peanut industry is certainly none too pleased. But the company’s rank-and-file customers seem, while perhaps a bit disappointed, generally understanding.

"Somewhat depressing that @SouthwestAir will stop serving peanuts in August but I will still fly with them when I can," wrote one Twitter user.

"So now the only nuts on the plane will be passengers," quipped a wag in response.

"I just heard that @SouthwestAir is going to discontinue serving peanuts. I love peanuts and it's been great to have them on all my flights....and I am not surprised. Southwest takes care of people, and this is the right thing to do. Cheers," tweeted another Southwest fan.

For every "say it isn’t so" and "sad to say goodbye to peanuts" social media post there seems to be an expression of support.

Plus "@SouthwestAir says it won't stop passengers from bringing their own peanuts on board," Associated Press Airline Reporter David Koenig pointed out on Twitter. "It just won't hand out those little packets any more."

So peanuts-on-a-plane die-hards can always BYOP, but tweets like this one from a grateful mom in response to the news may give you second thoughts about that: "We learned about our son’s peanut allergy when he tried his first peanut on a Delta plane, before epipens were required to be in plane first aid kits, so this is fabulous news to me. So scary. I wish all airlines would follow suit."

Yeah, considering the stakes, we can probably all learn to love pretzels instead.

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