She has worked in airlines for the past 65 years and mostly works on the New York-Washington-Boston shuttle.
According to Guinness World Records, American Airlines flight attendant, Bette Nash is the world's oldest and longest-serving flight attendant at 86 years old.
Nash began flying in 1957 and will celebrate 65 years in the air, this September. She can take any route she likes, but for the majority of her career, she has relied on the New York-Washington-Boston Shuttle, reports ABC News. Nash loves this option since it allows her to spend every night at home with her physically disabled son. She is the primary caregiver for her child.
Times have certainly changed during her 65-year career. She claims that when she first started flying, customers purchased life insurance from a vending machine before boarding. The airline would check in on her at home to ensure she wasn't living with a guy because flight attendants had to be single.
She told WJLA during a flight in 2007, "You had to be a certain height, you had to be a certain weight. It used to be horrible. You put on a few pounds and you had to keep weighing yourself, and then if you stayed that way, they would take you off the payroll." Nash began her career with Eastern Airlines and eventually ended up at American Airlines after a series of mergers, including one with Donald Trump's company in the late 1980s.
Nash told CNN, "I wanted to be a flight attendant from the first moment I got on an airplane. I was 16 years old and the flight attendant walked across the hall and I said, 'That's for me.'"
Nash recalls that passengers used to pay the flight attendant as they boarded. When it came to the price of tickets, she remembers that her early flights between New York and Washington cost $12. She started her career when she was 21 years old. She said, "We used to pass out cigarettes and matches...on the flight, after the meal service, I would go around with Kent’s and Marlboros." She also served lobsters and carved meats on the plane, however, everything has changed due to technology. "Gone are the days of hand-written tickets, stickers for seat assignments, and chalk boards," she said.
Another thing that has changed throughout the course of her career is the way flight attendants dress, per Daily Mail. She said, "The attire when I first started was very conservative, then we started getting really out there. After that, things started calming down a little bit."
GOOD NEWS: congratulations to Ms Bette Nash, the longest-serving flight attendant according to Guiness World Record book! The 86yo has been gracing the aisles at @AmericanAir for 65 years -- just incredible. pic.twitter.com/Tujyey5A7d— Homa Bash (@HomaBashWEWS) July 2, 2022
However, she said that one thing remains unchanged throughout her six decades-long career and that is: people. She told Catholic Herald, "Maybe their dress changes, but people have the same needs—a little love and attention."
Nash is equally loved by the passengers she serves on the plane. One passenger told ABC 7, "I fly hundreds of thousands of miles a year, but these are always my best flights when Bette is on the plane." Another told Daily Mail in 2017, "I think what is most amazing and impressive about Bette is the way she warms up the entire aircraft. You walk on, you meet her, she knows your name, she remembers the conversation that she was having with you yesterday or last week or a month ago."
Cover Image Source: Still from CNN/Youtube