Bette Nash, 86, recently joined the ranks of world record holders in the Guinness Book of World Records, according to ABC News. This fall, Nash will celebrate her 65th anniversary as a flight attendant as she continues her work with American Airlines as a regular on the New York-Washington, D.C.-Boston Shuttle.
Nash began her career as a flight attendant back in 1957 when commercial flying was still a relatively new luxury for travelers, some of who were still a bit apprehensive about taking to the skies. And, during those days, flight attendants had to follow strict guidelines in order to keep their jobs.
“You had to be a certain height, you had to be a certain weight,” Nash told WJLA back in 2017 during her 60th work anniversary. “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 ya off the payroll!”
Nash still attends regular flight attendant training required by the Federal Aviation Administration to keep on top of the ever-changing safety guidelines and travel rules.
American Airlines posted an image to Facebook about a year ago showing Nash then and now, calling her an “#AATeam legend.” The company said, “She’s been flying with us for 64 years and has the longest flight attendant career in our history.”
Arlington, Virginia-based Nash also told WJLA that when she started as a flight attendant, airfares between New York and Washington cost about $12 each way.
In a press release celebrating Nash’s 60th anniversary with American Airlines back in 2017, the company said its most senior flight attendant has her choice of which routes she can fly. But, she continues to choose the shuttle route between Boston and Washington, D.C. because of her loyalty to the customers and her family’s needs.
Her long-term customers also appreciate Nash’s attention to personal service over the years.
“I think what is most amazing and impressive about Bette is the way she warms up the entire aircraft,” regular American Airlines’ Boston Shuttle passenger Simon Johnson told the company. “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.”
“Bette is the best of the best! I am always thrilled when I see she is working a flight I am taking,” Facebook commenter Kathleen Welling said. “She knows her ‘regulars’ by name and is the epitome of grace. American Airlines is indeed lucky to have her. She is a gem!”
Nash said it’s this connection that has made her long-term commitment to her career so enjoyable.
“My favorite part of flying over the years has been greeting my passengers as they board and deplane,” Nash shared with American Airlines. “People really are fascinating and it’s truly been a joy.”
Nash was first verified as having the longest career as a flight attendant in the Guinness Book of World Records in January, when she was 64 years and 61 days into the job. The previous record-holder was on the job for 63 years and 61 days; United’s Ron Akana of Boulder, Colorado, retired in 2012.