Clicks, cake and a sleepy passenger in Calcutta
Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee cut a cake at Delhi airport on Tuesday afternoon, posed for pictures with the airline crew and co-passengers and slept through the entire length of the flight to Calcutta.
The Nobel laureate was on seat 1A on IndiGo’s flight 6E 283.
Before take-off, the pilot stepped out of the cockpit and met him. “The pilot announced that IndiGo was proud to have a Nobel laureate as its passenger. He then asked for a round of applause for Banerjee from the passengers. All the passengers clapped,” said Purna Chandra Maity, a Calcutta businessman who was on the same flight.
Banerjee slept through most of the journey, said a doctor who was accompanying him on the flight.
“Even when he was dozing, people were taking selfies with him,” said Calcutta-based gastroenterologist Abhijit Chowdhury said.
Banerjee had a cup of tea on the flight and refused food offered by the airline. “He was complaining of a sore throat,” Chowdhury said.
As the flight landed and Banerjee got up to leave, the cabin crew took pictures with him.
Some passengers even walked up and spoke to him.
Maity asked Banerjee a question that he has heard several times in the recent past — what did he think of the Indian economy. “It will take some time to recover,” he is supposed to have said.
There was a mini celebration at the boarding gate too. “We saw him cutting a cake organised by the airline staff. The cake was distributed among passengers,” Maity said.