Southwest Airlines passengers will no longer be able to get peanut on their flights starting this summer. This was done to protect people with allergies.
The low-cost carrier announced that it will stop serving nuts on board its aircraft starting on Aug. 1. The airline is one of the large carriers which has bid goodbye to the favorite packet snack because some of its passengers suffer from peanut allergies, which can make way for life-threatening reactions.
In a statement, the airline said that the snack will forever be part of its history and DNA. However, the difficult decision to discontinue its serving was done to ensure a better onboard experience for everyone, especially those who are allergic to it.
The airline has offered peanuts since the early 1970s and has consistently been giving it to passengers since about 1980.
Food and Drug Administration reported that in the country, over 2,000 hospitalizations and 150 deaths are caused each year by severe allergic reactions to selected food items.
Southwest Airlines said that it will still continue to serve complimentary snacks which include pretzels, veggie chips, cookies, and corn chips, on longer routes. The company hopes to please its customers who are sad to see their favorite peanut snack go.
The airline envisions to create a safe environment where all of its customers, including those with peanut-related allergies, feel at ease and welcome on every flight.
How Other Airlines Cope With Peanut Allergy
Airlines including United and American has also stopped serving peanuts on board its flights. However, both airlines still warn its passengers that some snacks and food may still contain nuts or other ingredients which some passengers may be allergic to. The airlines cannot guarantee that each flight will be free of peanuts.
On the other hand, Delta Airlines said that it won't serve nuts on board if a passenger will notify about his or her allergy. It also allows its passengers to board early to clean their seats and trays for any dash amounts of the food.
Southwest also said that customers should not fail to take note of their peanut allergy whenever they are booking a flight.
Peanut industry group National Peanut Board has disagreed with Southwest's decision.
According to a statement, the board said that it is disappointed to learn about the news, especially because the airline considers it as a part of its history.
The group added that it is an unnecessary step which will disappoint many airline customers. It is also not at par with the latest rules such as allowing passengers to pre-board flights to be able to wipe down seats. This benefits the 1 percent of Americans with peanut allergy.