Passengers delay flight over pungent planeload of durian

Durian known as the world's worst-smelling fruit

The cause of the very bad stench was a huge supply of durian fruit which was travelling in the cargo hold on the Indonesian flight.

A Sriwijaya Air flight departing from Bengkulu, Sumatra, and bound for the capital Jakarta was delayed for a whole hour after passengers refused to take off if the rank fruit had to travel with them in the passenger cabin.

A number of online commenters lauded the passengers' refusal to fly with such a large amount of durian on board, pointing to safety concerns in the wake of last week's Lion Air crash that killed 189 passengers and cabin crew.

A journalist with the local Antara news agency reported that several passengers began arguing with flight attendants and nearly came to physical blows, said Australia's ABC news.

The company 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".

The flight took off an hour later than scheduled to Indonesian capital, Jakarta.

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Sriwajiya Air later said the airline was well within its rights to carry the stinky fruit in cargo.

The fruit is a delicacy in much of Asia, but its foul smell means it's banned from public transportation, hotels and planes in some countries.

Passengers eventually left the plane and refused to board the aircraft until the fruit was removed. "I complained to the stewardess but they told me to just fill up a complaint form", passenger Amir Zidane wrote on Facebook, the BBC reported.

The flight attendants assured him the smell would dissipate once the plane was airborne.

"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 Tuesday, AFP reports. They all chanted back, "not us!'".

Eventually, all the passengers were asked to leave the plane as workers unloaded the reeking cargo.

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