There are literally thousands of ingredients that divide opinion. Some people will swear blind that Marmite tastes like something scraped out of Satan’s bellybutton, while other, much more sensible individuals recognise that it is one of the most delicious things on earth. However, within the vast tapestry of contentious ingredients, there is one provokes both adoration and horror unlike anything else on the menu. Say what you like about it, no one could ever accuse durian of being ambivalent.
Despite being beloved by millions, durian is rightly regarded as a legitimate hazard. The fruit’s smell is so pungent that it is banned from public transport in several countries, and there are many instances of durian causing genuine disaster. Possessed of a permeating odour that can make any room immediately smell like the inside of a rotting corpse, it’s easy to see why precautions are necessary. Unfortunately, a recent Air Canada flight found out what happens if you fail to give durian the respect it deserves.
According to the Aviation Herald:
“Air Canada Rouge Boeing 767-300, registration C-GEOQ performing flight RV-1566 from Vancouver,BC to Montreal,QC (Canada) with 245 passengers and 8 crew, was climbing through 7000 feet out of Vancouver when a strong odour was noticed throughout the aircraft.”
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The crew hunted high and low for the source of the stench, to no avail. As they searched, the smell grew stronger and stronger. Passengers and flight attendees alike became increasingly panicked. Eventually, the team declared “PAN PAN”, the highest state of emergency, at approximately 7,000ft up. Oxygen masks were deployed. The plane beat a hasty retreat and returned safely to Vancouver.
It was only after the plane had landed that officials unearthed the origin of the odour - a shipment of durian that had been stowed in the cargo department. As the Aviation Herald reported, “The shipment was removed and the aircraft returned to service. The occurrence aircraft returned to service after 20 hours on the ground.” It might be inconvenient for the passengers, but at least their experience serves as a stark reminder for anyone else thinking of travelling with a durian.