"The three tonnes [mentioned in the video] is the total weight of baggages and other cargo, and this includes the durian".
Staff made a decision to unload the fruit after passengers who had boarded the flight chose to get off the plane, which took off an hour later and landed safely in Jakarta. Passengers watched from the side as the fruit was taken off the flight, reboarded, and took off after about an hour delay. The problem is, videos circulating where a passenger taking the video accused carrying durian as a safety hazard. His Facebook post about the incident has been shard more than 20,000 times as of Wednesday afternoon.
"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. "I complained to the stewardess but they told me to just fill up a complaint form", said Amir Zidane.
The flight attendants assured him the smell would dissipate once the plane was airborne.
Zidane refused to be placated, however.
It was at that point that Zidane turned to his fellow passengers and asked who wanted to fly with such a smell.They all shouted back: "Not us!".
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He said he had "a little bit of an argument with the officer" but that some friends even "clashed" with crew.
Footage uploaded to Facebook by a passenger showed that the airport crew eventually removed two tonnes of durian in the cargo hold.
That took nearly an hour and 2 tons were removed, but at the end of it, the plane took off from Bengkulu in Sumatra.
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". "Many airlines do this", Retri Maya, senior corporate communications manager for Sriwijaya Airlines told the Jakarta post in a press statement.
Though delicious, durian is one of the most easily recognizable fruits in Asia because of its strong odor.