If you’ve spent much time in Southeast Asia you’ve come across Durian, sometimes referred to as “stinky fruit.”
I find it to be delicious, but it does have an odor, some people think it smells like sewage. And the odor can last which is why you sometimes come across signs that say “No Durian.” You simply aren’t allowed to enter if you have any Durian, whether it’s a bus or a hotel.
There wasn’t a ‘no durian’ sign on Sriwajiya Air flight SJ91 from Bengkulu to Jakarta on Monday though. The Indonesian domestic flight was carrying about 4500 pounds of the stuff — and caused the smell inside the cabin to get so bad that passengers and crew almost fought prior to departure.
According to the airline “Durian is not classified as a hazardous material to be transported on a plane.” They promised that the smell would go away once the plane was in the air — but no one believed it and passengers demanded to get off. Eventually the durian had to be offloaded, and departure was delayed 1 hour and 29 minutes.
Personally I’d have been happy to travel on the one hour ten minute flight if they had offered to share the durian. Not everyone likes the flavor, of course, though I suspect it’s unfamiliar and can be intense. One simple way to try it that’s much more mellow is in the form of ice cream.
Cargo has caused problems with planes before, such as when flatulence from 2100 goats forced a Singapore Airlines plane to land. There though it wasn’t the smell but an alarm that triggered.