Southwest Airlines has announced that it is no longer serving peanuts on board, to begin in August.
People with peanut allergies can rest a little easier on their next Southwest flight, as the company announced Monday that it will no longer serve the traditional airplane snack.
Beginning August 1, Southwest will stop providing free packaged food on board as an important measure for those who might suffer from potentially life threatening nut allergies.
“Peanuts forever will be a part of the Southwest of the history and DNA,” a spokesperson of the airline said in a statement to Fox News. “However, to the best on-board experience for everyone, especially for customers with a peanut-related allergies, we have made the difficult decision to stop serving peanuts on all flights.”
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Other free snacks are still available for passengers. “We hope that our free pretzels (and the wonderful portfolio of the free snacks on longer flights), served along with our legendary Southwest Hospitality, will you customers who might be nostalgic or sad to see peanuts go,” the spokesman said.
While peanuts have become commonplace on board of the offer of many airlines, Southwest is the most closely associated with the salty snack. In 2017 alone, the airline more than 106 million peanuts, according to its website.
When the budget airline was founded in 1971, in order to offer low flight, Southwest does not serve in-flight meals. Instead, it promoted itself as the peanut airline “peanut-fares”, says the Huffington Post.
“It was all about marketing,” said Bob Van der Linden, president of the aircraft division at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, told Skift. While other providers also served peanuts, even before the Southwest, Van der Linden said: “the south West was the first to serve only peanuts, and did so proudly, to show how cost-efficient it was.”
But with an increased awareness of peanut allergy, and a number of complaints and lawsuits from those who claim to have suffered reactions to the snack is served on board, many airlines have dropped peanuts in total.
Earlier this year, a Texas family said that the presence of peanuts on board a Southwest flight as a result of a severe reaction in their 9-year-old son, forcing them to administer his EpiPen.
In 2010, the Ministry of Transport, even tried out enact a ban on an industry level, but it was not successful at the time, Skift reports. However, airlines such as Southwest are taking note and have made the decision to check the safety of the customer first.
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“Our ultimate goal is to create an environment where all customers—including people with a peanut-related allergies—feel safe and welcome on any Southwest flight,” Southwest spokesman told Fox News. “We miss the peanuts, but at the end of the day, it is our Southwest Employees and the Hospitality that they deliver us from each other, a lot more than peanuts ever could.”
Michelle Gant is a writer and editor for Fox News Lifestyle.