The Guinness World Records recently recognized an 86 year-old flight attendant for doing something remarkable. Bette Nash from Boston, Massachusetts, has been making the skies a little friendlier for almost 65 years.
Fox Atlanta writes, Bette Nash began her career on Nov. 4, 1957, with Eastern Air Lines. Her first day of work was exactly one month after the Soviet Union launched Sputnik — the world’s first artificial satellite — and a year before the Boeing 707 would officially enter service for commercial air travel.
Through various airline mergers, Nash ended up at American Airlines. In January, she was recognized by Guinness as having the longest career as a flight attendant ever, achieving 64 years and 61 days of nonstop employment at the time of verification.
She still serves as an active flight attendant with American Airlines and will celebrate 65 years in the fall.
“If you’ve flown with us, chances are you might have met #AATeam legend Bette Nash. She’s been flying with us for 64 years and has the longest flight attendant career in our history,” American Airlines wrote in an Instagram post about her, shared in March 2021.
“Nash began her career with Eastern Airlines in 1957 at the age of 21. Eastern Airlines later became a part of American Airlines, and she still works for the company today. Things have changed a little since the 1950s though. When Nash first started working for the company, cigarettes were handed out to passengers as part of the onboard experience,” according to reports.
ABC News said that Nash chooses to work the New York-Boston-Washington D.C. shuttle this route because it allows her to be home every night to take care of her handicapped son, who she continues to care for to this day.
“When she first started flying, she says passengers bought life insurance from a vending machine before boarding and the airline would check on her at home to ensure she wasn’t living with a man because flight attendants had to be single. The airline also weighed her before shifts and could suspend her if she gained too much weight,” she told ABC.
She continued: “You had to be a certain height, you had to be a certain weight. It used to be horrible. 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.”
Back when she started, passengers would pay the flight attendant when they boarded as if they were on trains. Bette told reporters that her early flights cost $12 between New York and Washington.
Things have certainly changed, but Bette is still helping keep passengers safe and making them as comfortable as can be for their flights.