If you’ve spent much time in Southeast Asia you’ve come across Durian, sometimes referred to as “stinky fruit.” You’ll see hotels and buses with “No Durian” signs because while delicious, some people think it smells like sewage, and the odor lasts.
There wasn’t a ‘no durian’ sign September 17th on Air Canada Rouge flight 1566 from Montreal – Vancouver that was forced to make an emergency landing due to the smell of durian.
After takeoff, as the aircraft climbed to 7,000ft the crew detected a “strong odour,” according to Canada’s Transport Safety Board.
Flight crew requested to level off at 25,000ft to investigate and troubleshoot the odour, which pervaded the entire cabin, but to no avail.
They then made a PAN-PAN call, donned oxygen masks, and turned the aircraft around to return to Montreal.
It was determined that the source of the odor was durian in the forward cargo area of the aircraft.
A year ago passengers revolted prior to departure of Sriwajiya Air flight SJ91 from Bengkulu to Jakarta, because the plane was carrying 4500 pounds of durian. Customers refused to take the 1 hour 29 minute trip unless the durian was first removed.
Personally I’d have been happy to travel on a domestic flight with durian if they had offered to share the durian. Not everyone likes the flavor, of course, though I suspect it’s unfamiliar and can be intense. One simple way to try it that’s much more mellow is in the form of ice cream.
Cargo has caused problems with planes before, such as when flatulence from 2100 goats forced a Singapore Airlines plane to land. There though it wasn’t the smell but an alarm that triggered.