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A Smelly Fruit Nearly Grounded a Flight After Passengers Fought for Its Removal

Durian is considered by many to be the smelliest fruit in the world. And when it was loaded into a plane’s cargo hold in Indonesia recently, its smell was enough to make passengers fight back.

Two tons of durian fruit was placed inside the hold of a Sriwijaya Air flight from Bengkulu to Jakarta. The smell was so bad that passengers demanded that the fruit be removed. After facing some backlash from air crews, the passengers nearly got into physical altercations to have it removed from the hold, according to the BBC, which earlier reported on the row.

Durian has 30 species and more than 100 varieties in Indonesia, alone. It’s thorn-covered and can grow as long as 12 inches. While some people can detect something sweet in the fruit’s odor, others believe it smells similar to raw sewage.

Airlines often carry products in their cargo hold to increase flight profitability. In most cases, airlines can transport products without informing their customers what’s in the hold and customers don’t typically have any say in what the flight will carry.

According to accounts from passengers, they could immediately smell durian when they got onto the flight and soon started requesting its removal from the cargo hold. Passengers chanted, saying they wouldn’t fly with durian in the cargo hold.

Their protests worked: the passengers were asked to get off the plane while the durian was removed from the hold. The plane eventually took off an hour after its scheduled departure time without any durian inside.