Southwest Airlines has just announced that it will stop serving its iconic peanuts on board its flights as of August 1 in order to provide a great on-boardl experience for everyone, including passengers with peanut allergies.
Really? Does this make sense? According to Wikipedia, the percentage of people with peanut allergies is 0.6%. Doesn't sound like many people, but then if it's you or your child who is allergic you don't really care if you're one of that small percentage, do you?
""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," the airline said as reported by CNN Travel.
Depending on the length of the flight, the airline will continue to offer snacks, including pretzels, cookies, veggie chips and corn chips. Customers with peanut and peanut-dust allergies can indicate their allergies when booking their flights and at the airport, and they may opt to board early to wipe down their seats and tray tables.
But how will the airline control people who bring peanuts on board with them? After all, many people with hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) are encouraged to eat small, frequent meals throughout the day and to always include protein. Of course, both peanuts and tree nuts are common sources of protein that many such patients often choose.
So what are they to do out a four or five hour Southwest flight? Pretzels, cookies and chips are not exactly nutritious and last I checked were not sources of protein.
Certainly, for people with peanut allergies, exposure can have serious consequences, so it is good that Southwest is taking that into consideration. But I just wonder about those patients who rely on nuts for between meal snacks because of their own health needs. Certainly, there is no practical way that Southwest or any other airline that transports the public can guarantee a nut-free environment.
My wife, Jackie is one of those people with low blood sugar and she carries little bags of nuts with her wherever she goes. What are they gonna do? Bring out the handcuffs when she starts eating her peanuts?