Passengers create stink over pungent planeload of durian

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The situation inside the cabin reportedly became so bad that passengers and crew nearly came "to blows", according to The Jakarta Post, citing a report from an Antara news reporter who was on the flight.

Passengers booked on a Sriwijaya Air flight from Bengkulu province in Sumatra to Jakarta on Monday complained to staff after smelling the fruit and refused to get on the plane.

According to ABC.net, that's exactly what passengers on this flight had - about 2 tons of the fruit, locked away in the plane's cargo holds.

The durian fruit has been banned from public transport and hotels in some countries because of its "stinky" smell, which has been described by food writer Richard Sterling as "turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock". Video footage filmed by a passenger shows the sacks being taken off the plane as travellers wait on the tarmac.

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

Despite the fact the passengers were victorious, the airline's management later defended their decision to carry the controversial cargo.

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Durian is considered a delicacy in many parts of Asia but it attracts a lot of negative attention thanks to its "raw sewage"-like smell".

The company then went on to say that it was normal practice for Indonesian airlines to carry durian in the hold, "as long as [the durian] is packed well and enclosed in the cargo according to standard operating procedure".

"I yelled at the other passengers 'Who on this plane wants to fly?'".

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 risky goods".

Zidane said that crew members assured him the smell would vanish as soon as the plane was in the air, reported BBC.

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