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86-Year-Old Becomes World’s Longest-Serving Flight Attendant

Charlie Cocksedge

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86-Year-Old Becomes World’s Longest-Serving Flight Attendant

Featured Image Credit: ABC 7

An 86-year-old woman has become the world's longest-serving flight attendant, having jetted around the skies for the past 65 years.

Bette Nash, from Virginia, started her career as an airline employee in 1957, when she landed a job as a 21-year-old with Eastern Airlines. At the time, tickets were hand written, schedules were shown on blackboards, and you could get yourself a seat on the plane for just $12.

Six-and-a-half decades later, Bette is now in the Guinness World Records book as the world's longest-serving flight attendant, and she's still greeting every passenger with a smile.

Bette Nash is celebrating 65 years as a flight attendant. Credit: CNN
Bette Nash is celebrating 65 years as a flight attendant. Credit: CNN

"I wanted to be a flight attendant from the first moment I got on an airplane," she told CNN in 2016, as she approached 60 years on the job. "I was 16 years old and the flight attendant walked across the hall and I said, "That's for me'."

In those days, you didn't need a reservation in advance to fly, while attendants like Bette would hand out cigarettes to passengers.

Now, however, it's very different, especially the technology. "Gone are the days of hand-written tickets, stickers for seat assignments, and chalk boards," she said.

Speaking to airlinestaffrates.com to mark her 60th anniversary, Bette said her long-lasting career has meant she's been able to meet new people and spread kindness around the world.

"It’s just been the perfect career path. It’s given my love of people an outlet, and I like to think I’ve given good service to others.

"I thoroughly enjoy my three-minute conversations onboard. And I’m often amazed at the interesting work, travels and lives people have," she said.

Bette's clearly had an impression on passengers, too. "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," Simon Johnson told MailOnline.

Another passenger told ABC7: "I fly hundreds of thousands of miles a year, but these are always my best flights when Bette is on the plane."

Bette Nash back in the day. Credit: CNN
Bette Nash back in the day. Credit: CNN

Having flown for so many years, Bette has her pick of routes. However, she favours the New York-Boston-Washington DC routes, so she can be back in time to say goodnight to her son, who is disabled. The route also allows her to see the same passengers.

"I love my people. I love being on the same flight all the time because I know my customers," she told CNN.

Throughout her time in the skies, Bette said a highlight was flying with former First Lady Jackie Kennedy, while in 2017 she was recognised by American's Chairman and CEO, Doug Parker, for her decades of service.

Topics: US News, Guinness World Record

Charlie Cocksedge
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