Southwest Airlines will stop serving peanuts this summer, citing allergy worries

Key Points
  • Southwest Airlines will stop serving peanuts starting Aug. 1.
  • The decision comes after Southwest and other airlines have grappled with passenger allergies.
A Southwest Airlines jet leaves Midway Airport on January 25, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Passengers will no longer get peanuts on Southwest Airlines flights, starting this summer.

Beginning Aug. 1, the low-cost airline will stop serving peanuts on board its planes, the carrier said on Monday.

The airline is one of several large carriers that have ditched the longtime, packaged airplane snack as some passengers suffer from peanut allergies, which can cause severe and even life-threatening reactions.

"Peanuts forever will be part of Southwest’s history and DNA," the airline 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 Aug. 1."

Severe allergic reactions to food are the cause of 150 deaths a year in the United States and 2,000 hospitalizations, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

The airline said it will continue to serve complementary pretzels and other snacks on longer routes, which it hopes "will please customers who might be nostalgic or sad to see peanuts go.

Our ultimate goal is to create an environment where all customers—including those with peanut-related allergies—feel safe and welcome on every Southwest flight."

American and United don't serve packaged peanuts on board but they warn passengers that other foods and snacks they serve can contain nuts or other foods to which some passengers may be allergic. The airlines can't guarantee the flight will be entirely free of peanuts. Delta Air Lines on its website said that it won't serve peanuts on board if a passenger notifies the airline of an allergy. It also allows travelers to board early to clean seats and tray tables for trace amounts of the food.

Southwest, too, said customers should note their peanut allergy when booking flights and that they can still board early to wipe down seats and tray tables.

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