My forgetful nature has won yet again, as I check in for my Southwest flight late, being awarded with least priority C class. I do not worry about overhead space as a light packer. I do not even worry about sitting next to a stranger. I only worry about whether that stranger will be eating Southwest’s complimentary peanuts.
However, as of August 1st of this year, this will never concern me again. Southwest Airlines has discontinued serving peanuts on their flights.
Just this month, I flew with Southwest to Charlotte, North Carolina to help install my brother for the coming school year. As I returned home to Dallas, a horrible thunderstorm surrounded Love Field Airport. After hovering for nearly an hour, we were sent to Oklahoma City to get gas and wait out the storm.
Four hours passed until we finally returned to Dallas. After such an inconvenient turn of events, I could only help but be grateful. Had this occurred just months earlier, I would have suffered immensely with my body physically rejecting the smell of peanuts circulating in this confined space.
A staple of the Southwest experience since its founding has been its complimentary peanuts. Air travel has historically been a luxury only the rich could afford, yet Southwest has always catered to the common public with advertisements in the ‘70s and ‘80s stating their fares were so affordable, one could “fly for peanuts,” according to People.
According to Aviation Online Magazine, Southwest began in 1971 by Rollin King and Herb Kelleher serving the people of Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio in reaching their destinations. Catering to the people’s economic needs, the airline quickly gained popularity through programs like frequent mileage, senior discounts, and fun packs. Southwest soon became known for their customer service.
This marketing strategy has lost priority to the company’s dedication to their customers, especially those with peanut allergies, although Southwest will continue to serve complimentary snacks like pretzels and cookies on their flights.
According to People, the company stated, “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.”
Despite being connected to peanuts through its history, Southwest’s decision to get rid of these complimentary snacks demonstrates their true message: customers come first. So, to put it simply, from all those previously concerned customers, thank you.