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Southwest Airlines Says Goodbye to Peanuts

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By Katherine LaGrave, Condé Nast Traveler

In an effort to protect passengers with severe allergies, Southwest Airlines—the carrier arguably the most known for its peanuts and peanut-related slogans—says it will can the popular snack on its flights later this summer.

[post_ads]"Peanuts forever will be part of Southwest’s history and DNA," the airline said in an emailed 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 makes sense: Peanuts are one of the eight most allergenic foods, which together account for 90 percent of all allergic reactions to food, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Airlines, for their part, accommodate passengers with nut allergies to varying degrees: JetBlue creates a "buffer zone" around the flier with the allergy; Delta says it will "refrain from serving peanuts and peanut products onboard" if the airline are notified of a peanut allergy. Still, travelers with such allergies have said enforcement is inconsistent—and some have said they're hesitant to ask airlines if nuts will be served, for fear of being kicked off a flight, reports the New York Times.

Southwest says it will continue serving free pretzels on all routes and a larger portfolio of snacks on longer flights, and that the airline hopes its service will be enough to appease customers "who might be nostalgic or sad to see peanuts go." But because passengers will still be able to bring peanuts and peanut products onboard, the airline says that customers should still indicate their allergy when booking and at the airport. Southwest says it will continue allowing fliers with peanut and peanut dust allergies to board early so they can wipe down tray tables and seats.

Logic aside, many Southwest devotees are mourning the peanut. Among them? Traveler's own Meredith Carey, who notes, "Terra Chips, Wheat Thins, and yes, even Biscoff cookies don’t hold a candle to those little metallic blue bags. Southwest’s free, slightly sweet, honey-roasted and dry-roasted, super-salty peanuts (what you get depends on when you fly) have always been a sign of the airline’s intense commitment to hospitality, and no one’s ever blinked twice when I’ve asked for two (or three) bags." Hey, at least you can still order them in bulk on Amazon.

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