American Airlines loyalists may already be familiar with Bette Nash, and most of us assumed that she was the longest serving flight attendant out there. This has now been confirmed by the Guinness World Records.
Flight attendant celebrates 65th work anniversary
Bette Nash is an American Airlines flight attendant based in Boston, and she has just been recognized by Guinness World Records for being the world’s longest serving flight attendant. She started her career as a flight attendant back in 1957.
At the age of 86, she’s currently the world’s oldest flight attendant. As American’s most senior flight attendant, she could fly any route she wants. So while senior flight attendants generally choose long haul flights, that’s not what Bette chooses. Rather she flies almost exclusively from Boston to New York and Washington, so that she can be home every night. That’s because she has a special needs son who she cares for.
While Bette is the oldest and most senior flight attendant in the world right now, she’s not the oldest flight attendant ever. In 2014, a 90-year-old Delta flight attendant was forced to retire. He had been at the airline for just under 63 years, and it seems he wasn’t happy about needing to retire, as it was described as a “seven-month stressful and unfortunate ordeal.”
She’s also not American’s most senior employee, as the airline has a 96-year-old mechanic who has been at the airline for 80 years.
Bette Nash is such a good vibe
Admittedly the concept of an 86-year-old working in a frontline customer service role is kind of hard for many people to wrap their heads around. That’s especially true outside the United States, where you’ll almost never seen flight attendants that are 65+ years old (meanwhile in the United States that’s incredibly common).
I find that the most senior flight attendants can be a mixed bag, and service can be on both ends of the spectrum. I’ve had so many amazing, passionate, friendly, professional, happy senior flight attendants, and I’ve also had many senior flight attendants who are… not those things.
But Bette Nash deserves endless credit for simply being an amazing human being. Here’s how she described her attitude:
“I love my people, and I love being on the same flight all the time, that I know my customers, you know what they want. The airline thinks names are important, but I think a lot of times peoples’ needs are very important. Everybody wants a little love.”
Below is a video CNN did about her around five years ago, back when she was “only” celebrating her 60th anniversary of flying.
Guinness World Records has recognized Bette Nash as being the world’s most senior flight attendant. The 86-year-old has been at American Airlines for 65 years, and she’s totally awesome. Congrats, Bette, and keep it up!
Has anyone had the pleasure of flying with Bette?