‘Fly high’: Bette Nash, world’s longest-serving flight attendant, dead at 88

Bette Nash

Bette Nash, who began her career as a flight attendant in 1957 and served for a world-record 67 years, died May 17. She was 88.

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Nash died in hospice after a recent breast cancer diagnosis, ABC News and Business Insider reported. She never officially retired from her role with American Airlines.

Her death was confirmed in a statement posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, by American Airlines.

“We mourn the passing of Bette Nash, who spent nearly seven decades warmly caring for our customers in the air,” the airline tweeted. “She started in 1957 and held the Guinness World Record for longest-serving flight attendant.

“Bette inspired generations of flight attendants. Fly high, Bette.”

Nash was verified as the longest-serving flight attendant by Guinness World Records on Jan. 4, 2022.

Born on Dec. 31, 1935, Nash served on her first flight with Eastern Airlines, later absorbed by American Airlines, in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 4, 1957, according to Guinness World Records

“You had to be a certain height, you had to be a certain weight. It used to be horrible,” Nash told WJLA-TV in a 2020 interview. “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!”

She typically worked along the East Coast so she could be home each night to care for her son, who had Down syndrome, the television station reported.

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants, the union representing flight attendants in the United States, posted a tribute in a Facebook post.

“Bette’s remarkable career spanned over six decades, during which she touched countless lives with her warmth, dedication, and unparalleled service. Her passion for flying and her commitment to her passengers were truly inspiring,” the union wrote. “Bette’s legacy will forever be remembered in the aviation community and by all who had the privilege of knowing her.

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