A plane of Sriwijaya Air was temporarily grounded after passengers complained about an overwhelming smell of durian in the cabin.
Around two tonnes of durian, the world’s stinkiest fruit, was in the cargo hold of the Sriwijaya Air flight, bound for Jakarta from Bengkulu. Passengers demanded that the fruit be removed, with some almost coming to blows with crew members, reports BBC.
The airline eventually relented and unloaded sacks of the durian fruit. The flight eventually took off around 11:40 am local time (04:40 GMT), an hour later than scheduled.
Sriwijaya Air later said the airline was well within its rights to carry the stinky fruit in cargo.
“It’s not illegal to carry durian in a flight as long as it is wrapped properly in accordance with flight regulations – carried inside the hold. Many airlines do this,” senior corporate communications manager Retri Maya said in a statement.
The thorny durian is a delicacy in much of Asia but also controversial – you either love it or hate it. Its potent stench means it’s banned from public transportation, hotels and even planes in certain countries.
A passenger onboard the plane detailed the incident, which took place on Monday, in a Facebook post.
“When I entered the plane, I could already smell the scent of durian. I complained to the stewardess but they told me to just fill up a complaint form,” said Amir Zidane.
Crew members assured him the smell would vanish as soon as the plane was in the air. Unsatisfied, Amir rallied his other fellow passengers
“I yelled at the other passengers ‘Who on this plane wants to fly?’. They all chanted back ‘not us!!'”
He added that other passengers started complaining and some even almost “physically clashed with crew members”.
Eventually, they were all asked to leave the plane while the crew unloaded the durian.
Mr Anies Wardhana said there had been around 2,025kg of durian onboard the plane, and that the airport would “evaluate” future packing situations so that they would “not cause passenger discomfort”.