Can a story get any more Indonesian than this?
On Monday, 5 November 2018, a Sriwijaya Air flight heading to Jakarta from Begkulu was temporarilty grounded due to passengers complaining about a strong durian smell in the cabin.
The flight was set to take off at 10:40am from Bandara Fatmawati Sukarno, passengers had already boarded the flight when the noticed the lingering stench of the ‘king of fruit’. When it comes to durian, some love it of course, but for others the smell resembles rotting eggs – an unbearable stench that makes them gag and retch.
Quite hard to hold your breath for a 1 hour and 20 minutes!
Soon after boarding, as explained by one of the passengers in a Facebook post, he and other passengers complained about the smell but the crew simply told them to fill out an official complaint. But the smell must have been so bad that passengers near led a revolt against the airline crew, demanding that whatever was causing that smell be removed from the plane. Reports say passengers protested in chant:
“Who wants to fly?” “Not us!”.
Aggression reached heights to the point where some passengers were reported to nearly physically fight with some of the crew…
(Video above shows durian being removed from the flight)
It was revealed that 2,025kg worth of durian was being stored for delivery in the cargo of the very same flight, below the cabin area. The sheer quantity of the spiky fruit seemed to seep its way up towards the passengers, stinking up the flight.
After all the ruckus , the airline crew relented. Passengers were told to leave the plane as the airline unloaded the 2 tons of durian from the flight.
It’s not illegal to carry durian on a flight, as long as it is wrapped in accordance with flight regulations. According to a later report the durian was wrapped with pandan leaves and coffee to mask the smell, and then 4 layers of cardboard, but still the impressive reek was too strong!
The flight was finally took off an hour later at 11:40am. But knowing durian, probably with a small, lingering smell of the fruit still in the air…