(Bloomberg) -- Southwest Airlines Co. will stop serving the small bags of free peanuts long associated with the discount carrier’s no-frills business model.
Peanuts won’t be available on any flights starting Aug. 1 because of concerns about allergies, the Dallas-based airline said in an email Tuesday. Free pretzels will continue to be offered, while additional snacks such as small packs of cookies or chips will be available on longer flights, Southwest said.
Southwest’s peanuts are so ingrained with the airline’s brand that they were dubbed “LUV bites,” a reference to the airline’s stock ticker symbol. The carrier often describes its ticket prices as “peanuts” and its employee blog is titled “Nuts About Southwest.” The airline, which began offering peanuts on flights in the early 1970s, served more than 106 million packages last year.
“Peanuts will forever be part of Southwest’s history and DNA,” the carrier said in announcing the “difficult decision” to end the popular snack. Testing of new snacks is under way, Southwest said.
American Airlines Group Inc. and United Continental Holdings Inc. don’t serve peanuts on flights, spokeswomen said. Other airlines weren’t immediately available to comment.
“Say it ain’t so!” a customer posted on Southwest’s Twitter page Tuesday. “Always looked forward to those little suckers with my beer. Sad.”
In 2007, the airline resumed serving honey-roasted peanuts following a two-year absence, after the price fell to the same as the dry-roasted variety. In 2000, Southwest had its vendor remove three nuts from each bag to save $300,000 a year.
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