Published: Wed, November 07, 2018
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Passengers delay flight over pungent planeload of durian

Passengers delay flight over pungent planeload of durian

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.

Travelers aboard a Sriwajiya Air flight from Bengkulu, in Indonesia, to Jakarta complained of the odor prior to takeoff, insisting that the airline remove the spiky, smelly fruit - of which there was almost 4,500 pounds in the cargo hold - from the flight, per The Straits Times.

The cause of the bad stench was a huge supply of durian fruit which was travelling in the cargo hold on the Indonesian flight.

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.

Footage uploaded to Facebook by a passenger showed that the airport crew eventually removed two tonnes of durian in the cargo hold.

The flight eventually took off around 11:40am local time (04:40 GMT), an hour later than scheduled.


The durian is known for being one of the grossest-smelling fruits in the world-think "turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock", as one food writer has described it, per Smithsonian.

A representative for Sriwijaya Air has since claimed the smell of the durian was intensified because of the heat, despite wrapping the fruit and "putting in pandan leaves and coffee powder" to absorb the odor.

It's even banned from public transport in Singapore and Bangkok, where it's also not uncommon to see "No Durian Allowed" signs in hotels and hostels. "I complained to the stewardess but they told me to just fill up a complaint form", said Amir Zidane in a Facebook post. "Many airlines do this", Retri Maya, senior corporate communications manager for Sriwijaya Airlines told the Jakarta post in a press statement.

Crew allegedly told him that the smell would go away once the flight was in the air.

After passengers who had already boarded the plane chose to get off, the staff made a decision to acquiesce and unloaded the fruit, a process that delayed the flight by an hour but it landed safely in Jakarta. They all chanted back, "not us!'".

Like this: