With 60 years in the sky, Bette Nash is believed to be the longest serving flight attendant in the world. She inspires her colleagues and knows how to make people happy at 30,000 feet at 6:30 a.m.
“I feel like I’ve been given a gift from God that I can keep going,” she says.
While pilots have to retire at 65, but there is no such requirement for flight attendants. So Nash is still flying – with a devoted following of regular passengers on the flight that’s been nicknamed after her.
This month, Bette Nash turns 82. She celebrated her 60th anniversary in the air in November 2017 and has no plans to settle on the ground.
“Bette has taken care of millions of our customers, around the world,” American’s Chairman and CEO, Doug Parker said.
“It’s the simple things that she does each day, like greet customers with a warm smile, friendly hello and thanking them that has added to her legacy.”
Nash was 21 when she became a flight attendant
Flying seems much more exciting than a secretary job she had been doing because one could meet “people from all over”.
The idea had sparked in her fantasy the first time Bette got on the airplane.
“I was 16 years old, I was sitting with my mother on a green leather couch at Washington [Reagan National Airport]. The pilot and the flight attendant walked across the hall and I thought ‘oh my God,’ and I said that was for me,” Nash recalls.
So a few years later Bette joined the team of girls “looking for a little adventure” — because that’s what they were called then — at Eastern Air Lines in 1957.
She met the Kennedys
Bette actually served lobster and carved meats on a flight with Jacqueline and John F. Kennedy Jr.
Bette Nash can choose any flight to fly
That’s an honor she’s deserved as American’s most senior flight attendant.
So she’s been flying the shuttle route between Washington DC and Boston – it allows her to get back to her Manassas, Virginia home by night – for 56 years.
Passengers even nicknamed that one route after Dash
Regulars affectionately call the D.C.-to-Boston shuttle the “Nash Dash”.
“If Bette’s on the flight, you know everything is going to go well,” says a renowned attorney, who has flown with her for almost three decades.
Colleagues admire Bette and ask for autographs
“Everybody in the industry knows about Bette. She’s an inspiration,” says the 20-something in question American Eagle flight attendant, Pavel Boress.
Bett Nash received an honor usually reserved to captains
Ten years ago, Bette’s 50th professional anniversary was celebrated with a rare water cannon salute.
She laughed at the suggestion she would keep her career going till 60th.
It is the people who keep the longest-serving flight attendant coming back
The woman always finds “a little love and a little attention” both for passengers and colleagues.
“There’s nothing like technology that has changed,” Nash explains. “The people are exactly the same. Everybody needs a little love.”
Especially at 30,000 feet in the air at 6:30 in the morning.