Nation’s longest-serving flight attendant dies at 88: “Fly high, Bette”

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Flight attendant celebrates 60 years in the air

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The nation’s longest-serving flight attendant has died of cancer at 88 years old, according to statements from American Airlines and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants.

Bette Nash started flying with Eastern Airlines in 1957. The D.C.-based flight attendant preferred to work the American Shuttle flight from Washington, D.C., to Boston, because it let her be home every night. She planned to just fly for a few years, but in the end, wound up taking care of passengers for nearly seven decades. 

The name on the plane kept changing – from Eastern Airlines to Trump Shuttle, U.S. Air Shuttle and now American Airlines – but Nash stayed. Frequent fliers on the route even came to recognize her.

“The people are exactly the same,” Nash said in a conversation with CBS News in 2017. “Everybody needs a little love.” 

“We mourn the passing of Bette Nash, who spent nearly seven decades warmly caring for our customers in the air,” American Airlines said in a statement on social media. “She started in 1957 and held the Guinness World Record for longest-serving flight attendant. Bette inspired generations of flight attendants. Fly high, Bette.” 

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants, the union which represents American Airlines flight attendants, told CBS News it was saddened by Nash’s passing.

“Our thoughts are with her family and friends during this difficult time. Bette will always be an integral part of our history, and she will not be forgotten,” the organization said. 





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