82-year-old flight attendant: 'Everyone wants a little attention'

When Bette Nash started flying, Eisenhower was President, Elvis was on top of the charts, and gas cost a quarter.

ARLINGTON, VA (WUSA9) - When Bette Nash started flying, Eisenhower was President, Elvis was on top of the charts, and gas cost a quarter. Times have changed, but Bette Nash is still a flight attendant.
 
The oldest one in the world.

At nearly 82, Bette Nash has been a flight attendant for 60 years. And she's still strong enough to pass her annual FAA test, still strong enough to drag a ill passenger into the aisle and start CPR.

“Just keep going,” she said.

When Nash started, tickets were $12 and you checked the schedule on a chalkboard.

“They chalk up all the morning flights with chalk and in the afternoon, they'd erase it and chalk it up again," she said. 

She applied because it looked glamorous. And flying the Kennedy's to Boston really was.

“Jackie Kennedy was on my flight, Bobby Kenney, Ethel Kennedy, Ted Kennedy," she said. 

But what's special about Bette is she has a little bit of love for everyone.

“It really makes a special experience,” said Gregory Seward, 11. “Like the first time you go to Disneyland!”

It's a business that can be really tough on families. But for almost her whole career, Bette Nash has flown the shuttle, from Washington National to Boston and then back to Washington so she could be home in Manassas at night to care for her son, who has special needs.

“I feel like I have not done enough,” she told American Airlines CEO Doug Parker.

“You are, you're an underachiever,” Parker joked back, to a huge laugh.

In the lobby where she started in 1957, Parker honored Nash for her diamond anniversary. He gave her a pin studded with diamonds, a box of pins, and diamond earrings from Tiffany's.

But the modest Nash said it's not about her. She said it's about her co-workers, and her customers.

“Do I like my job? I love my job," she said. 

Nash has no plans to retire. She's the longest serving flight attendant. But she's not sure she can beat the longest serving American Airlines employee.

He's a mechanic at Kennedy Airport. Azriel Blackman has been working for American for 75 years. And he’s 92.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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