World’s smelliest fruit delays flight in Indonesia

A cargo of durian led to a passenger protest, temporarily grounding a flight from Bakulu to Jakarta

Passengers travelling from Bakulu to Jakarta on Sriwijaya Air flight had to undergo a one-hour delay for a rather peculiar reason.

The airline was supposed to carry a two-tonne load of durian — the world’s smelliest fruit — which led to an almost violent protest among travellers.  

Sriwijaya Air flight from Bakulu to Jakarta was temporarily grounded because of two tonnes of durian — Mike Fuchslocher / Shutterstock World's smelliest fruit delays flight in Indonesia durian
Sriwijaya Air flight from Bakulu to Jakarta was temporarily grounded because of two tonnes of durian — Mike Fuchslocher / Shutterstock

With the intense smell seeping out of the cargo hold, passengers refused to board the plane while expressing concerns about the extra weight on the plane as well.

The carrier argued that the smell would go away once the plane was in the air and that durian wouldn’t endanger the flight.  

“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 on Tuesday.

He added that they placed coffee powder and sweet-smelling pandan leaves on the plane “to absorb the durian smell”.

However, the protesters wouldn’t stop arguing — with one man reportedly starting a protest chant.

The spiky durian has gained popularity in South East Asia but suffers from an intense odour — Shutterstock World's smelliest fruit delays flight in Indonesia
The spiky durian has gained popularity in South East Asia but releases an intense odour — Shutterstock

According to the BBC, some travellers reached such a state of anger that there was almost an altercation with the crew.

The airline eventually agreed to remove the load and the plane took off one hour after its scheduled departure.  

The large spiky durian has gained popularity in South East Asia as well as in other parts of the world for its nutritional benefits. However, the fruit — or super fruit as some call it — has a strong odour similar to rotten food or dirty socks.

The scent is so intense that various authorities have started to restrict the fruit in public spaces. Singapore has banned durian from its subway system, while many hotels don’t allow it in their premises at all.