Published: Fri, November 09, 2018
Business | By Eloise Houston

Indonesian plane grounded after passengers complain about stinky durian

Indonesian plane grounded after passengers complain about stinky 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.

Its potent stench means it's banned from public transportation, hotels and even planes in certain countries.

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.

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.

Passengers on the flight demanded the fruit be unloaded before the plane took off due to the bad stench.

"I complained to the stewardess but they told me to just fill up a complaint form", said Amir Zidane in a Facebook post.

"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. His Facebook post about the incident has been shard more than 20,000 times as of Wednesday afternoon.

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

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

Sriwijaya Air later released a statement justifying the decision to carry the fruit.

"It's normal for every airline to carry durian during a flight as long as it is packaged properly and put inside the cargo hold in accordance with the standards and procedures", Retri said. They all chanted back, "not us!'".

Eventually, they were all asked to leave the plane while the crew unloaded the durian.

Responding to the incident, Pramintohadi Sukarno, acting director general for air transportation, said that "carrying durian, terasi (fermented shrimp paste), dried, salted fish and other stinky goods in a plane is not forbidden because they are not categorized as unsafe goods".

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