Southwest Airlines has recently announced that they will no longer be serving peanuts on their flights beginning August 1. Before all of you “peanut-philes” become upset, please try to be considerate of all the nut allergy sufferers of the country out there, including me. I have flown Southwest Airlines a number of times since I was a kid, and always remained so dismayed and confused as to how the service was able to get away with handing out peanuts to passengers, when there might have been a child on board with a severe allergy.
I was always lucky enough to sit next to my parents or my brother who cautiously avoided eating the tasty snack (though much to their disliking) so it was never a huge problem for me. Unfortunately, there have been many instances like that of my friend’s, where he or she found out she was allergic to peanuts on this very airline, only to have the flight diverted to the nearest airport for medical assistance. Even though Southwest has allowed passengers with the allergy to pre-board, I always felt that this measure itself was not enough to create a peanut-friendly environment.
There are varying degrees of a reaction for those suffering from the allergy. Personally, I can not only get a reaction from eating the peanut itself, but also from coming into close contact with peanut residuals. For many others it is far worse. I have heard of people having an anaphylactic shock solely based on the smell itself. Surely because of just these few reasons, I always found it important for airlines to take into consideration the underlying issues associated with handing out food that could be potentially dangerous to a certain passenger. Although, it is likely the passenger is carrying an Epi-Pen, Southwest and other similar airlines should not be putting themselves in a position that not only upsets those suffering from the allergies but also those trying to get to their destination.
For an airline that has always prioritized its customers above all, this decision was long overdue, and surprisingly enough wasn’t a result of a prominent lawsuit. Southwest now finally joins other domestic carriers including United, Delta and American in not serving pre-packaged nut products and is able to further enhance its operational efficiency by avoiding potential flight disruptions.
It’s about time! And I guess we will see sooner rather than later what Southwest comes up with to replace them.