Indonesian plane delayed because of durian fruit

Durian fruit

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A journalist with Indonesia's Antara news agency who happened to be on the plane reported that several passengers began arguing with flight attendants and nearly came to physical blows.

Passengers booked on a Sriwijaya Air flight from Bengkulu province in Sumatra to Jakarta on Monday complained to staff after smelling the fruit and refused to get on the plane, repulsed by the pungent payload and concerned about the extra weight on board.

Passengers refused to fly with the shipment of fruit, leading the airline to delay the flight for an hour so the durian could be unloaded.

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.

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 spokeswoman Retri Maya said the durian had been properly loaded into the plane.

Footage uploaded to Facebook by a passenger showed that the airport crew eventually removed two tonnes of durian in the cargo hold. His Facebook post about the incident has been shard more than 20,000 times as of Wednesday afternoon.

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'Three tonnes of durian offloaded from a Sriwijaya Air jet after pax complained of the smell.

Crew members assured him the smell would vanish as soon as the plane was in the air.

Some passengers were so angry there was nearly an altercation with crew, the BBC reported.

However, he was unsatisfied with the answer and called his fellow passengers against flying in those conditions.

Eventually, all the passengers were asked to leave the plane as workers unloaded the reeking cargo.

The company went on to say that it was normal practice for Indonesian airlines to carry durian in the hold, "as long as [the durian] is packed well and enclosed in the cargo according to standard operating procedure".

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