Passengers, Plane Crew Nearly Brawl Over Stinky Fruit

Sriwijaya Air flight in Indonesia temporarily grounded thanks to durian in cargo hold
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2018 8:00 AM CST
In this Nov. 25, 2017, file photo, a cut durian is shown by a vendor in Bentong, Malaysia.   (AP Photo/Sadiq Asyraf, File)

(Newser) – 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. The late Anthony Bourdain once said after eating it, "Your breath will smell as if you'd been French-kissing your dead grandmother." So it's conceivable that more than 2 tons of the stuff crammed onto an airplane's cargo hold might overwhelm one's olfactory senses, which is exactly what happened in Indonesia. The BBC reports a Sriwijaya Air flight destined Monday for Bengkulu out of Jakarta was grounded for an extra hour after passengers almost got physical with crew members after boarding the plane and wrinkling their noses at the stench of the durian in the cargo hold.

One passenger detailed his experience on Facebook, noting that after complaining about the odor to a flight attendant, he "finally yelled at the other passengers, '[Who] on this plane wants to fly???" The others apparently agreed that they didn't, he said, and as things got heated, passengers almost came to blows with the crew. Some passengers then got off the plane and said they wouldn't fly until the fruit was unloaded, which is what the crew eventually ended up doing, per ABC Australia. The BBC notes the fruit has been banned from certain hotels and various modes of public transit, including planes. Meanwhile, a rep for the airline sent a statement to the Jakarta Post insisting "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." (Could the durian also be an aphrodisiac?)

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