Southwest Airlines isn’t the only carrier to serve peanuts, but it is the one most closely associated with the snack—until now.
On August 1st, Southwest (LUV) will stop serving peanuts in order to “ensure the best on-board experience for everyone, especially for customers with peanut-related allergies.” Other airlines have made similar decisions in light of rising rates of peanut allergy and concern from passengers.
Southwest is the brand that made peanuts and air travel synonymous. As Bob Van der Linden, chair of the aeronautics division at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, told Skift, Southwest’s low prices were partly attributable to the fact that they gave up on-board meals. “Southwest was the first to serve only peanuts, and did so proudly, to show how cost efficient it was.” The company made hay out of their in-flight snack of choice, marketing their prices as “peanut fares.”
But serving nuts on flights is an increasing liability. Allergic reactions to peanuts cause 150 deaths and 2,000 hospitalizations in the United States. Last year American Airlines (AAL) found itself subject to a formal complaint after passengers claimed their policies discriminated against people with allergies.
In a statement the airline said it had been a difficult decision, and that “peanuts forever will be part of Southwest’s history and DNA.”