Friday, December 5, 2008

Not So Nuts About Southwest Airlines

While searching the Internet the other day, I discovered that Southwest Airlines has a corporate blog.  When I clicked on the site to check it out I recoiled in horror.  Apparently the blog is called Nuts About Southwest, and the pages are covered with images of peanuts.  I guess that answers the ever important question I have "Does Southwest serve peanuts or nuts on their flights?"  HHhhhhmmm, I think the answer is yes.

In addition to having peanuts cover their pages, they also have a little bag of peanuts open and spilling all over the pages.  On this bag is the slogan Byte Sized Fares.  Clever, cute, and to me, who is overly sensitized to peanut issues, offensive. I don't know if it is justified, but I feel angry that instead of trying to accommodate this disability, the airline is flaunting their lack of compassion for it. 

In a Seattle Times Article from 1994 they spoke of how Southwest Airlines based its image on the peanut.

"Peanut fares. Peanut meals. Peanut jokes.

Not since South American Indians began cultivating the distinctive legumes a millennium ago have peanuts been the subject of such sustained attention.

Famed for its low fares and spartan service, Southwest Airlines bought 46.3 million bags of peanuts last year to distribute to its passengers.

They're emblazoned front and back with a Boeing 737 in Southwest's eye-catching mustard and orange colors.

Elevating the peanut to such status is all part of the nutty persona Chairman Herb Kelleher has created for the Dallas-based airline."

An issue of The Peanut Grower from 2007  discusses how Southwest Airlines gave up on peanut free snacks, and now run ad campaigns promoting peanuts.

"Southwest Airlines Promotes Peanuts
Honey-roasted and dry-roasted peanuts are once again on board Southwest Airlines. The company stopped distributing the free peanut snacks in 2005 in an effort to save money.

Kanan Enterprises, based in Solon, Ohio, provides nuts to Southwest Airlines under the King Nut name. King Nut peanuts are distributed to seven of the eight largest U.S. carriers, and Southwest Airlines is its biggest customer.

Southwest ran an ad campaign entitled, “Fly for Peanuts,” and the employee blog is named “Nuts About Southwest.”"

On their blog they also explain their Official Southwest Airlines Semi-Annual Peanut-Transition.  I know you are asking....What is the Official Southwest Airlines Semi-Annual Peanut_Transition?  Well, since you asked here is a quote from their blog.  "Every six months or so we switch from dry roasted to honey roasted peanuts, giving us all the opportunity to debate the merits of each style of nut and rehash old peanut stories. "  

I would like to rehash some old peanut stories for them, like the time my then 2 year old blew up like a basketball after eating only a tiny bit of peanut.  Or how about the time little Joey almost died from eating a honey roasted peanut.  Lets debate the merits of how his reaction would have differed if he ate a salted peanut instead.  

I think my favorite old peanut story is the one where I decided I would not be flying Southwest Airlines again, especially not for Peanuts.

7 comments:

Scott near SMF said...

It is my understanding that if you make a reservation with Southwest and you call in to their reservation center at 1800IFLYSWA and furnish them the date and flight number and city-pair with your peanut allergy, it is company and airline policy to make that particular flight totally and completely peanut-free.

Jennifer B said...

Interesting info. That's nice of Southwest, but you couldn't pay me all the money in the world to take my 5 year old PA son onto an airplane that has had peanuts every day on almost every flight. Those little peanut particles must be all over the place. Ew. I don't even like to think about it!

Jennifer said...

I also think it is nice of Southwest to make some effort to make accomodations. I think what upsets me the most is that their advertising campaigns, and even their corporate image themselves are so intertwined with peanuts. For those of us who live with life threatening peanut allergies, peanuts to us mean possible death. I know this is not a good example, but it is kind of like the fact that an airline would probably not show a movie with an airplane crash, etc while in flight. It is just not what we want to see when flying.

Mark said...

Very tough to fly with a peanut allergy. I agree, if you have a severe or life threatening peanut allergy you should probably avoid flying as the particles may still be in the cabin.

If your peanut allergy is not as severe (i.e., airborne particles will not cuase a severe reaction) you can request a peanut-free flight on many airlines. On Southwest, I've been on flights where all peanuts are removed from the cabin and they informed the passengers that it was going to be peanut free (pretzels were served). I also recall seeing this option while booking Southwest tickets online using the accessiblity and assitance option.

One other point if you plan on flying with a peanut allergy...look for airlines that have leather seats (like Southwest's) as they tend not to hold in the peanut particles like cloth and you can wipe down the seat with a handiwipe or dry cloth. One final note, always confirm with a gate agent that the flight will be peanut free prior to boarding.

For those with peanut allergies, these few notes of wisdom can really save you from a horrible traveling expereince.

kelly said...

GREAT post!

Elise said...

Actually, while Southwest does abide by the procedures mentioned, they do not clean, vacuum or wipe down any of the surfaces of the plane between flights. I fly often and have a 4 year old with a severe peanut allergy undergoing medical treatment for another issue. We can no longer fly southwest as even though they don't serve peanuts on the flight, they don't clean the plane properly in between...peanuts on seats, floor, in the air. Truly, just not serving them is not enough and we no longer use them as an air carrier as a result. We'd advise others with serious allergies to do the same. Flying on planes twice, though 'peanut free' radically increased our son's allergy several years ago. We just didn't know. Now we do!

Elise said...

Actually, while Southwest does abide by the procedures mentioned, they do not clean, vacuum or wipe down any of the surfaces of the plane between flights. I fly often and have a 4 year old with a severe peanut allergy undergoing medical treatment for another issue. We can no longer fly southwest as even though they don't serve peanuts on the flight, they don't clean the plane properly in between...peanuts on seats, floor, in the air. Truly, just not serving them is not enough and we no longer use them as an air carrier as a result. We'd advise others with serious allergies to do the same. Flying on planes twice, though 'peanut free' radically increased our son's allergy several years ago. We just didn't know. Now we do!