Rubbing Elbows

Unpacked: Flying the Friendly Skies

Heath Granas, SPA/BA '02, flight attendant, based out of Dulles International Airport

Photo­graphy by
Jeff Watts

Heath Granas and the contents of his bag

1. My manual, crew badge, pair of wings, and flashlight are mandated by the airline and the FAA. In nearly nine years, I've logged about 11,000 hours in the air.

2. My adapter keeps me plugged in and powered up.

3. I can't survive in such a dry environment without my Blistex medicated lip balm. I must buy 15 tubes at a time.

4. I'm a shopper, so I carry a small tote bag for all of my purchases.

5. When I have down time I catch up on my reading: Washingtonian, travel sections from the Sunday Washington Post, and A Fighting Chance by Elizabeth Warren.

6. I keep keys from every hotel I've stayed in—my collection numbers about 800 keys. I also kept a glass from the bar where my first pint of Guinness was poured during my first layover in Shannon, Ireland, in March 2006.

7. I always have some Swiss francs, British pounds, and euros on hand for foreign travel.

8. When I'm flying domestic, I'm exempt from the three-ounce rule, but Europe is a different story. The UK is especially strict.

9. I use my iPad and iPhone to keep in touch with family and friends and take pictures of my adventures.

10. Airplane food can make you fat, so I run 4.25 miles at least three days a week. I was my heaviest back in college and am now at my thinnest.

11. Domestic layovers can be as short as 10 hours—enough time to sleep, shave, and shower. But you never know when you'll get stuck for an extra day or two, so I always pack extra socks, T-shirts, and underwear.

12. Healthy snacks—granola, Fiber One bars, and fresh fruit—keep me from eating too much plane food.

13. I may be in Honolulu one day and Anchorage the next, so I always have a variety of clothing, from swimwear to sweaters.

14. I beat the hell out of my bags; I'm lucky if my rollaboard lasts a year. I always keep a Human Rights Campaign pin on my bag to bring awareness for gay rights.