Flights

Southwest Airlines nixes peanuts starting August 1

Giving way to the concerns of passengers who have peanut allergies, Southwest Airlines has announced that, as of August 1, it will stop serving those tiny little packets of peanuts during flights.
“Peanuts forever will be part of Southwest’s history and DNA,” the airline said in a statement, “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.”
On its website, Southwest has told passengers with peanut allergies that if they made a note in their reservation, an effort would be made to make sure no peanuts would be served on their flights. But that didn’t always work out.
Other airlines stopped serving peanuts long ago, but for Southwest peanuts are part of the company’s branding. The airline is often “nuts” about this or that and has a quarterly newsletter called “In a Nutshell.”
Starting next month, the airline hopes passengers will pleased with the pretzels that continue to be served on flights, along with the other free snacks distributed on longer flights.

“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,” Southwest said in its statement.

Qantas surveying passengers about sleeping bunks and exercise zones

You may remember the recent buzz about the design Airbus floated for putting sleeping berths in the cargo hold of an airplane as a way for economy class passengers to get some real rest during a long haul flight.

Qantas, which has challenged both Airbus and Boeing to build a plane it can use for ultra-long haul  flights from the east coast of Australia to London and New York, likes that idea and has it on a list of ‘blue sky’ features included in a survey the airline is sending out to about 12,000 of its frequent flyers.

The survey is part of the airline’s “Project Sunrise” research into ultra-long haul flying and on the Qantas list are such “Would you like?” features as:

  • A stretch/exercise zone on board
  • A communal bar, dining or self-service café zone
  • A work & study section including work stations
  • “Change and refresh” stations
  • A creche

A creche? To me that describes Christmas nativity scenes, which seemed like an odd item to include on a long-haul flight. But when I looked up that word I discovered creche is also a British word for a nursery, or day care center.

And on a long-haul flight – and even many short ones – I think most any traveler would vote for that!

 

 

Fun new flights!

Three new flights kicked off over the weekend that I wish I’d been on!

 

Air France began nonstop service to Paris from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Sunday, March 25.

The service adds to Delta’s flights between SEA and CDG and kicks off with three times a week service (Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays) on a Boeing 777-200 and increases to five times a week (adding Mondays and Tuesdays) during the summer season.

Air France first served Sea-Tac between 2007-2012, when that route was given taken over by Delta.

On Saturday, March 24, United Airlines kicked off seasonal nonstop daily service on a 787-8 Dreamliner between Denver and London Heathrow (LHR).

And over the weekend Qantas completed the inaugural – historic – flight for direct service between Perth, Australia and London. The 787-9 Dreamliner made the journey in ‘just’ 17 hours and 14 minutes.

 

JetBlue starts Mint service between Seattle and Boston

This week JetBlue kicks off its “Mint” preimium service on updated Airbus A321 planes flying between Seattle and Boston, offering passengers who purchase the upgraded fares lie-flat beds, plated tapas-style meal selections, Molly Moon ice-cream and other welcome amenities.

I rode along on the first flight out of Seattle. Here are some pics from the trip.

Mint cabin seating is set up with either single suites or side-by-side seating.

The single Mint suites have an extra-large storage cabinet for belongings you want to keep near by.

In addition to complimentary alcoholic drinks and a seletion of tapas-sized dishes, Mint service out of Seattle includes ice-cream made by local favorite, Molly Moon.

Economy class seating features upgraded seats with adjustable headrests and larger in-flight entertainment screens.

And for those who get hungry during the flight, there’s a serve-yourself pantry with plenty of complimentary snacks and soft drinks.

Not flying between Seattle and Boston? JetBlue will offer its Mint service from Seattle to NY’s JFK starting in mid-April.

Virgin Atlantic’s heart-shaped flight

While I was hanging out at Heathrow Airport on Valentine’s Day waiting for my Virgin Atlantic flight to Seattle, there were lots of lovebirds getting their photos taken with a big heart frame.

Meanwhile, across town, Virgin Atlantic flight VS850P set out from London Gatwick Airport and mapped a heart shape in the sky as part of a training flight.