World’s Most Tenured Flight Attendant Dies at 88

( – The world’s longest-serving flight attendant has died at 88. Bette Nash, who worked in the airline industry for 70 years, died in a Virginia hospice following a battle with cancer. She was still employed with American Airlines when she died. The company issued a statement describing Nash as a legend who inspired generations. “Fly high, Bette. We’ll miss you,” the statement read.

Bette Nash began her career in 1957 when a flight from New York to Washington, DC, cost $12. Born in New Jersey in 1935, Nash decided to become a flight attendant at age 16, and after a brief period working as a legal secretary, she commenced her first airline job at Eastern Airlines at 21. When Donald Trump launched an airline in 1989, she briefly served there before moving on to US Airways, which merged with American Airlines in 2015. Her favored route was the 6.30 am from Washington, DC, to Boston, which became known as the “Nash Dash” in her honor.

The acclaimed flight attendant married her husband James in 1973, and they had one son, Christian, who was born with Down syndrome. A devout Christian, she volunteered with her son at the Sacred Heart Church in Manassas, Virginia, for over four decades. In press interviews through the years, Nash frequently stated that her motivation in continuing to work was to provide for her son but also to give attention and warmth to passengers. “You can’t buy attention. But people need this. And it’s for free. You can give this to people for free,” she said.

In a ceremony at Reagan National Airport in 2007, Ms. Nash was honored by her employer, US Airlines, with a “water cannon salute,” a tribute usually reserved for retiring flight captains. It involves fire trucks sending streams of water over an aircraft as it taxis toward the gate. The gesture marked Nash’s 50 years in the airline industry, and she confirmed at the time that she had no immediate retirement plans.

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