Seasoned veteran

Meet Bette Nash, flight attendant who’s been making the skies friendlier for 6 decades

Bette Nash (CNN)

Bette Nash is quite possibly the world’s longest-serving flight attendant. The 80-year-old woman has been working since 1947. Becoming a flight attendant had been a teenage dream for Nash, she said. “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], and this crew came up from TWA,” she recalled during an interview with CNN. “The pilot and the flight attendant walked across the hall and I thought ‘oh my God,’ and I said that was for me.” Nash fondly remembers “the golden age” of flying, when she would fly with the Kennedys and serve lobster on big meal trays. Today, she flies her daily route from Washington National to Boston Logan on American Airlines and has established a friendly relationship with many of her passengers. “I love my people. I know my customers. I know what they want. The airline thinks names are important, but I think people’s needs are very important. Everybody wants a little love,” she tells CNN.

Over nearly 60 years, Nash has seen the industry and the job change drastically. When she first started, there were height, weight and make-up requirements for the job — and by the time the ‘70s came around, she was even required to wear hotpants. “We had the hot pants, the go-go boots, a turtleneck shirt that came up to here and buttoned underneath. After that, then things started calming down a little bit.” Another thing Nash has had to adjust to over the years is the technology. As she is not the most tech-savvy, she considered retiring once the airline started replacing paper manuals with tablets and iPads but decided against it, because she finds her job too stimulating. Nash is not afraid that her job will eventually disappear and flight attendants replaced with technology, however. “They will never phase out a flight attendant, because they need the human touch,” she said. “ People need that human interaction.” Watch more about her story in the video below.

Read the full story at CNN.


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