Passengers on Southwest Airlines flights will have one less item on the menu.
The complimentary peanuts will be dropped from the food selection in order to protect people who are allergic to the popular menu item.
Southwest Airlines released a statement to the Chicago Sun-Times confirming the decision.
“Peanuts forever will be part of Southwest’s history and DNA. 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 statement said. “We hope that our free pretzels (and the wonderful portfolio of free snacks on longer flights), served along with our legendary Southwest Hospitality, 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.”
According to a company fact sheet, Southwest gave out more than 106 million peanuts to its customers in 2017.
“We’ll miss the peanuts, but, at the end of the day, it’s our Southwest Employees and the Hospitality they deliver that set us apart, far more than peanuts ever could,” the statement said.
The move comes as awareness of peanut allergies has increased, especially in the context of the confined space of airplane cabins. Even trace amounts can cause major complications for those with the most extreme nut allergies.
The federal Food and Drug Administration lists peanuts as one of the eight food types that account for 90 percent of all food allergies in the United States.
For Southwest, the elimination of peanuts does not mean that the carrier is doing away with free snacks. Instead, the airline will now serve pretzels. Other complimentary snacks, such as cookies, will be offered on some of the company’s longer routes.
Contributing: USA Today