Happy 82nd Birthday to the World's Oldest Flight Attendant: Bette Nash
If you fly in first class between Washington DC's Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) and Boston (BOS), you might be lucky enough to be served by a living legend. Bette Nash is the oldest and most experienced flight attendant in the world. And, today, December 31, 2017 is her 82nd birthday!
For over 60 years, Bette Nash has charmed passengers. Her fascination with becoming a "stewardess" started when she was 16 and saw a TWA crew pass her family in the terminal of Washington National Airport. (It would be nearly a half-century later before that airport would be renamed after President Ronald Reagan.)
After graduating from college, she followed her passion and applied for a stewardess position with Eastern Airlines on November 4, 1957, when she was just 22 years old. Her home base was right there in the airport she found her calling. Over 60 years — and many airline mergers — later, she still calls DCA home.
To get an idea how long ago Bette started flying, here are some fascinating stats from Bette's first year on the job:
- Dwight Eisenhower was president
- Flights on her favorite route from DCA-BOS cost $12 each and required no reservation
- Gas was 24 cents a gallon
- Bette remembers serving lobster and carved meats on platters
Now, as the most-experienced flight attendant, she can choose any flight she wants. But, she mostly sticks to her favorite DCA-BOS route with a crew affectionately known as the "Nash-Dash."
For those wondering, yes, Bette is still fully qualified as a flight attendant. In order to keep flying, she still has to pass all of the same training requirements of those 60 years her younger.
If you — like us — can't get enough of Bette, check out this feature that CNN did on her career so far:
And here's the Boston Globe's feature on Bette:
As you can see, Bette is an absolute gem. Thankfully, she has no intention of stopping anytime soon — which is great news for those of us that still haven't been able to experience her charm for ourselves.