United States

Bette Nash, World's Longest-Serving Flight Attendant, Dies At 88 After 70-Year Career With American Airlines

Bette Nash, Guinness Record holder for the world's longest-serving flight attendant, died at 88 after a remarkable 70-year career with American Airlines. Her legacy of service and dedication to passenger care has left an indelible mark on the aviation industry.

Bette Nash, World's Longest-Serving Flight Attendant Photo: AP

Bette Nash, recognized as the world’s longest-serving flight attendant, has passed away at the age of 88. American Airlines, where Nash dedicated nearly 70 years of her life to caring for passengers, announced her death on social media over the weekend. Describing her as a legend within the company and the industry as a whole, American Airlines paid tribute to Nash's enduring legacy.

“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.”

Nash began her illustrious career as a flight attendant with Eastern Airlines in 1957, as noted by the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), which also honored her memory online. Initially based in the Washington, D.C. area, Nash's journey eventually led her to American Airlines when the carrier acquired many of Eastern’s routes in 1990.

“Bette will always be an integral part of our history, and she will not be forgotten,” APFA said.

According to ABC News, Nash died on May 17 while under hospice care after a recent diagnosis of breast cancer. A spokesperson for American Airlines confirmed that Nash was still employed with the carrier at the time of her passing.

According to Guinness World Records, Nash was born on December 31, 1935, and embarked on her career as a flight attendant at the age of 21. In January 2022, Guinness officially recognized Nash as the world’s longest-serving flight attendant, surpassing the previous record holder by a year. Confirming her enduring legacy, Guinness reaffirmed Nash's title to The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Reflecting on her lifelong passion for aviation, Nash shared with CNN in a 2016 interview, “I wanted to be a flight attendant from the time I got on the first airplane — I was 16 years old ... the pilot and flight attendant walked across the hall and I thought, ‘Oh my God,’ I said that was for me.” She recounted the moment of inspiration upon witnessing a flight crew in action.

Recalling her journey into the skies, Nash told CNN that she pursued the role of a flight attendant after completing college, remarking simply, "and the rest is history."