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Bette Nash, who was named the world’s longest-serving flight attendant, dies at 88

May 28, 2024, 8:53 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — Bette Nash, who was once named the world’s longest-serving flight attendant, has died. She was 88.

American Airlines, Nash’s employer, announced her passing on social media Saturday. The carrier noted that Nash spent nearly 70 years warmly caring for customers in the air.

“Bette was a legend at American and throughout the industry, inspiring generations of flight attendants,” American wrote on Facebook. “Fly high, Bette. We’ll miss you.”

According to the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which also shared a tribute to Nash online, Nash began her flight attendant career with Eastern Airlines back in 1957. The union noted she was based out of the Washington, D.C. area.

Nash’s position at Eastern eventually brought her to American, which bought out many of Eastern’s routes in 1990.

The Associated Press reached out to American and APFA for further information about Nash’s death on Tuesday. ABC News reported that Nash died on May 17 while in hospice care following a recent breast cancer diagnosis. She never officially retired from American Airlines, the outlet added.

According to Guinness World Records, Nash was born on December 31, 1935 and began her flight attendant career at the age of 21. In 2022, Guinness named Nash the world’s longest-serving flight attendant — officially surpassing the previous record one year earlier, with 63 years and 61 days of service as of January 4, 2021.

“I wanted to be a flight attendant from the time I got on the first airplane — I was 16 years old, I was sitting with my mother on a green leather couch at Washington (Reagan National Airport),” Nash told CNN in a 2016 interview, recalling the awe she felt upon seeing a flight crew walk by.

Nash told CNN that she applied for the in-air job after graduating from college, “and the rest is history.”

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Bette Nash, who was named the world’s longest-serving flight attendant, dies at 88