Passengers create stink over pungent planeload of durian

Passengers create stink over pungent planeload of durian

A journalist with the local Antara news agency reported that several passengers began arguing with flight attendants and nearly came to physical blows, said Australia's ABC news.

The Sriwijaya Air plane was delayed for an hour at Bengkulu, south west of Sumatra, when passengers complained of the fruit's overpowering smell.

The odour of a cargo of stinky fruit caused passengers of an Indonesian flight to demand crew remove it before departure. They also expressed concern over its extra weight on the plane, AFP reported.

"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. That took nearly an hour and 2 tons were removed, but at the end of it, the plane took off from Bengkulu in Sumatra.

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

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Sriwijaya attempted to rationalize the airline's decision to take on two tons of the cargo by pointing out no laws were broken. "Many airlines do this", senior corporate communications manager Retri Maya said in a statement to the Jakarta Post.

The airline later said that it was within its rights to carry the fruit in cargo, despite the smell. In some Asian countries, Durians are banned from public transport and hotels due to their pungent smell.

"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".

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".

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.

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