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Smelly onions cause an AirIndia Express flight to return after takeoff

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An unprecedented incident saw an airplane forced to return after takeoff as a result of a box of onions. A “pungent” and “burning” odour was reported to be present within the cabin of an Air India Express flight traveling from Kochi to Sharjah. On the evening of August 2, the flight (IX 411) from Kochi had about 175 passengers on board.

At first, only one passenger reported a “burning” smell, but soon others began to complain as well, describing a “pungent smell” within the aircraft. The plane conducted an emergency turnaround¬†and safely landed at Cochin International Airport. No signs of smoke or technical issues were discovered during the engineering team’s inspection of the aircraft.


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After further inquiry, it was determined that a box of onions or vegetables being transported in the cargo hold area was probably the cause of the smell. It was believed that the smell surrounded the cabin as a result, making the passengers nervous and uncomfortable.


Air India Express apologized for the inconvenience and arranged for the passengers to board a different flight, which took off at 5.14 a.m.

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Large quantities of vegetables, fruits, and flowers are frequently transported by the airline in its cargo hold, providing a source of cash and support for farmers, especially when transporting produce to the Gulf nations.