Two Tonnes Of Smelly Durian Fruit Temporarily Grounds Flight After Passenger Complaints

Stinky fruit causes plane protest

An Indonesian plane bound for Jakarta on Monday was grounded after passengers were overpowered by the noxious smell of durian pervading the cabin shortly before takeoff.

The Sriwijaya Air plane was delayed for an hour at Bengkulu, south west of Sumatra, when passengers complained of the fruit's overpowering smell.

An Indonesian airline was forced to delay a flight on Monday after the pungent smell of durian permeated the plane's cabin and nearly caused a brawl between passengers and crew.

He added that they placed coffee powder and pandan leaves - sweet-smelling leaves that are widely used to flavor desserts in Southeast Asia - on the plane "to absorb the durian smell".

In their arguments for the fruit's removal, some passengers referred to the crash of a Mandala Airlines plane in 2005 which failed to take off and killed 149 people.

Sriwijaya Air eventually made a decision to unload the sacks of durian from the flight, causing them to depart at 11.40am, an hour later than scheduled.

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Sriwajiya Air later said the airline was well within its rights to carry the stinky fruit in cargo.

Footage of the incident, uploaded to Facebook by a passenger named Amir Zidane, shows travellers milling around on the tarmac as aircrew unload the offending cargo, whose smell has been likened to rotten onions, turpentine and dirty gym socks.

The flight attendants assured him the smell would dissipate once the plane was airborne.

"Durian is not classified as a hazardous material to be transported on a plane", Sriwijaya Air official Abdul Rahim told national television station Kompas TV late Tuesday, AFP reports. "They all chanted back 'not us!'". "Many airlines do this", senior corporate communications manager Retri Maya said in a statement to the Jakarta Post.

Bengkulu airport staff said they would review their procedures regarding transport of durian to avoid passenger discomfort in the future.

Durian's stench is so pungent it's banned from public transportation, hotels and even planes in certain countries.

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