American’s Most Senior Flight Attendant Celebrates 60 Year Work Anniversary

Filed Under: American

A few years ago I first wrote about Bette Nash, who is American’s most senior flight attendant, and at the time had been with the airline for 57 years (or more accurately, with American’s predecessors). I wrote about her again in 2016, as she was still going strong after all these years.

What impresses me most about Bette isn’t how long she has been at the airline (though that’s also really impressive), but more importantly, what an incredible attitude she has, talking about how everyone just wants a little bit of love:

“People want a little love. And I don’t mean a lot of hugging and everything, even though we might do that. But this is the big thing: People need attention. You can’t buy love. You can’t buy attention. But people need this. And it’s for free.”

Apparently Bette primarily works the “shuttle” flights between Washington and Boston, as she wants to be home every night to take care of her special needs son.

Well, yesterday was a very special day for Bette, as she celebrated her 60th anniversary with American Airlines. WOW!

Per the press release:

“My favorite part of flying over the years has been greeting my passengers as they board and deplane. People really are fascinating and it’s truly been a joy,” said Nash.

As American’s most senior flight attendant, Bette can fly any route she’d like. Since 1961 Bette has often chosen to fly the shuttle route between DCA and Boston (BOS) taking customers back and forth all day.

Over the years, Bette has made several lasting relationships with customers on board the shuttle that have become like family. Simon Johnson, a Ronald A. Kurtz (1954) Professor of Entrepreneurship at MIT Sloan School of Management, is one of these customers. Simon flies the shuttle weekly and has done so since 2008. “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,” he said.

Bette and a few of her colleagues who work together regularly are affectionately known as the “Nash-Dash.” Instead of making a mad-dash between Washington D.C. and Boston, customers aboard Bette’s flight make the Nash-Dash.

The Nash-Dash, love it!

Bette, thanks for doing what you do and for being so awesome. The world needs more people like you.

While I don’t usually like to attend most media events, American invited me to Bette’s anniversary party, and unfortunately I had a schedule conflict. This is the most bummed I’ve been about not having been able to attend an event in a long time, as I would have loved to thank her personally for being such an inspiration.

Keep doing what you’re doing, and here’s to hoping she has many more work anniversaries in the sky! She might be 82, but she sure doesn’t act her age.

Here’s a local news story about yesterday’s event:

Bette isn’t the only American employee who recently celebrated a crazy work anniversary. In July, a 91 year old mechanic celebrated his 75th anniversary.

Has anyone had the pleasure of flying with Bette?

Comments
  1. She’s one of the last survivors of another era, when US airlines set the industry standard. So many great airlines wiped out by deregulation and now gone so long that today’s airline nerds never even saw one of their planes: Braniff, Eastern, National, Western, pre-TI Continental, Pan Am, TWA, Southern, Frontier, Ozark, PSA, Piedmont. Today’s big 3 are built on the bones of the great airlines they crushed.

  2. I’ve flown with her probably a dozen times over the course of my 10 years in DC (and just did a few weeks ago). She’s always so nice and I love being on her flights.

  3. What a great lady! Loved the videos!

    I was on an AA flight to Rome a few weeks ago and I started a conversation with a FA with 45 years seniority and she said she wasn’t even the senior FA on that flight. I met the senior FA and she had 46 years and the two of them couldn’t have been more pleasant and fun.

  4. I’ve met Bette once. She is a nice lady and she really knows her job.
    James if you are helpless, crying like a baby in an emergency Bette Nash will help you.
    Congratulations Bette.

  5. I hate to be the dissenting guy, but here goes. It’s great for this woman to be able to celebrate such a long career, and she obviously enjoys what she does, so good for her. But I have to say that being a flight attendant was not really envisioned to be a life-long career. Many employees stay way longer than their personalities or abilities qualify them for.

  6. Congratulations Bette! I was wondering what routes she did when she was first profiled on social media.

    It does frustrate me though that this is proof that FA’s are not only “primarily here for your safety” – and is such a lazy excuse by some U.S. FA’s and Airlines who hide behind that to do the absolute bare minimum in service. Not to mention, provides a bad rep for those who actually care, like Bette.

    Keep flying and giving everyone smiles Bette. You’re an inspiration!

  7. No way is she strong enough to open one of the hatches in the over wing exits and throw the hatch onto the wing.

  8. I salute her! What a wonderful, strong woman!
    As for Susie and James, you have a problem with flying with her I suggest you walk to your destination! As Philip pointed out, in an emergency I expect that all passenger would lend a hand! For her to have not hesitated to administer CPR to a passenger, I would bet she would not hesitate to save your lives either.
    As for opening a hatch door, might I remind you about the concept of team work?

  9. Lol. If she can’t perform a security details job like opening an emergency exit, all of you are basically congratulating or celebrating an undeserved paid employee for years. She wasn’t paid to be nice and smile, she was there mainly for security reasons.

    Bunch of hypocrite. Lol

  10. @Anne k.
    “in an emergency I expect that all passenger would lend a hand!”

    Your expectancy is quite utopia. I wonder you also expect to live as a princess in fairy tale castle….

  11. A former Continental Airlines Flight Attendant now flying for United in Newark celebrated 60 years last May, and she is also incredibly interesting, and physically and mentally fit at 80 plus years old. She began her career in May of 1957, so I’m thinking she may actually be the most senior living flight attendant today.

  12. Congratulations to inspiring flight attendant. People are lucky to have you take them back and forth between Washington and Boston every day. As to James flight attendants are required to perform emergency dutys every year in order to continue working. I am sure with Bettys experience and with her qualifications renewed every year she would not only save your life but every other life onboard a aircraft if needed. You would be very lucky if you were ever able to fly with such a wonderful person. Don’t judge a book by its cover!

  13. For those of you wondering if she could open a window exit, as a former AA flight attendant from the 1970s, we were trained to operate all exits and had a primary emergency exit responsibility based on jump seat position. At her seniority, Bette can choose whatever position she likes. If she is unable to reach her exit during an emergency, teamwork is part of the job. And of course all of you who take exit row seats know that you must first verbally agree that you are willing to help evacuate at the window exit in order to sit there. Every FA is repeatedly retested to pass emergency evacuation drills over his or her entire career, and cannot continue if they fail. To Kris, who said this wasn’t meant to be a lifelong career – you’re right about that in the 1950s. But by the 1970s AA was only hiring FAs with college educations, and offered a decent pension. I know because I was offered the opportunity to interview applicants while I was still an FA. Those good pension days are probably long gone but I’ll bet she’s grandfathered in. And I’ll be you can find people who stay longer than their “personalities or abilities” are qualified for in just about any job these days. I’d fly with Bette any day!

  14. Bless you Better, your a fine example of what we, the word misses and needs. You have inspired everyone and as you listen to your video have placed smiles on everyone watching. It’s a bosses dream to have you. attitude you bring.

  15. Where is Al-beker of Qatar Airways stupid comment as usaual against old flight attendents, I wonder if they even held one for 5 years, they’d make as big of a thing as AA for this lol

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