Overwhelmed passengers abandoned an Indonesian flight crammed with 2 tons of a notoriously smelly tropical fruit

Cyclists ride their bikes through a durian seller during stage 4 of the 2014 Tour de Singkarak on June 10, 2014 in Padang, Indonesia. Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images
  • An Indonesian passenger plane was momentarily grounded after a spontaneous passenger uprising, Antara reports.
  • The pungency of the notorious tropical fruit durian is to blame, with passengers refusing to share the flight to Jakarta with some two tons of the fruit squeezed into the cargo hold.

Indonesia’s crisis prone aviation industry suffered a decidedly minor setback on Monday after a Sriwijaya Air flight laden with durian was delayed when passengers revolted.

A reporter with the Indonesian media group Antara, who happened to be on the plane, said passengers became agitated upon encountering the scent of durian wafting through cabin before takeoff.

According to a reporter Boyke Ledy Watra with Indonesia’s national news agency, Antara, several passengers were so overwhelmed that they were “almost coming to blows with flight crew members.”

Passengers soon began leaving the cabin to mill about on the tarmac, refusing to board the flight until the source of the stench was removed, the publication said.

Sriwijaya Air eventually came to reason and reportedly unloaded some two tons of the fruit which Anthony Bourdain once lamented as “indescribable.”

If you’ve stumbled innocently across a durian, you will in all likelihood remember its potent mix of aromas.

Even with the thick spiky husk intact, the unnatural Asian fruit has such a fearsome, unrelenting stench that it’s widely banned on most major airlines, mass transit systems and public places across Asia.

Sriwijaya Air senior corporate communications manager Retri Maya released a statement in response to the reports, justifying the airline’s decision to carry the durian.

Sriwijaya attempted to rationalize the airline’s decision to take on two tons of the cargo by pointing out no laws were broken.

“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,” the airline said, adding: “Many airlines do this.”