South-east Asia’s most divisive fruit managed to ground a plane earlier this week, when passengers refused to fly with two tonnes of it in the cargo hold.
The Indonesia flight was due to travel between Sumatra and Jakarta on Monday morning, when travellers realised (by catching a whiff of it) they’d be journeying in the company of crates full of durian fruit.
A Facebook post from one passenger claims the smell had already filled the aircraft when they started boarding, which led him to complain to a member of cabin crew.
Realising he wasn’t the only one unhappy, Amir Zidane rallied support, writing in his post: “I yelled at the other passengers ‘Who on this plane wants to fly?’. They all chanted back, ‘‘not us!’”
The airline decided to offload the fruit and the Sriwijaya Air flight eventually took off an hour late, with Zidane sharing a video of the removal:
Despite the fact the passengers were victorious, the airline’s management later defended their decision to carry the controversial 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,” their spokesperson said. “Many airlines do this.”
Durian is considered a delicacy in many parts of Asia but it attracts a lot of negative attention thanks to its “raw sewage”-like smell.
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.