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World’s longest-serving flight attendant dies aged 88: ‘Fly high, Bette’

<span>Bette Nash, the world’s longest serving flight attendant, died at age 88.</span><span>Photograph: Boston Globe/Getty Images</span>
Bette Nash, the world’s longest serving flight attendant, died at age 88.Photograph: Boston Globe/Getty Images

Bette Nash, the world’s longest-serving flight attendant, has died aged 88 after nearly 67 years of working in the skies.

Nash began flying with the now-defunct Eastern Airlines in 1957 and primarily worked the shuttle flight between Washington DC and Boston so she could be home every night to care for her son, ABC reported.

It was the romance and glamor of flying that initially attracted Nash to the job. “I wanted to be a flight attendant from the time I got on the first airplane – I was 16 years old,” she told CNN. “The pilot and the flight attendant walked across the hall and I thought ‘Oh my God,’ and I said that was for me.”


At the start of her career, “you had to be a certain height, you had to be a certain weight. It used to be horrible,” she told WJLA. “You put on a few pounds and you had to keep weighing yourself, and then if you stayed that way, they would take ya off the payroll!”

In 2022, Nash was honored with the Guinness World Record title for longest-serving flight attendant. She never officially retired from her role with American Airlines and died on 17 May in hospice care after a recent breast cancer diagnosis, according to ABC.

“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.”

Nash “touched many with her warmth, dedication, and service”, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), the union representing American Airlines flight attendants, said in its statement. “RIP, Bette. You won’t be forgotten.”