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Bette Nash, recognized as the world's longest-serving flight attendant, dies at 88

NEW YORK — (AP) — Bette Nash, recognized as the world's longest-serving flight attendant, has died. She was 88.

American Airlines, Nash's employer, announced her death on social media Saturday. The carrier noted Nash spent nearly 70 years warmly caring for customers in the air.

"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."

According to the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which also shared a tribute to Nash online, Nash began her flight-attendant career with Eastern Airlines in 1957. The union noted she was based out of the Washington, D.C., area.

Nash's position at Eastern eventually brought her to American, which bought out many of Eastern's routes in 1990.

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

ABC News reported that Nash died on May 17 in hospice care following a recent breast-cancer diagnosis. She was still employed with American at the time of her death, a spokesperson for the carrier said Tuesday.

According to Guinness World Records, Nash was born on December 31, 1935, and began her flight attendant career at 21. In January 2022, Guinness named Nash the world's longest-serving flight attendant after surpassing the previous record one year earlier. Nash still holds that title, Guinness confirmed to The Associated Press Tuesday.

"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," Nash told CNN in a 2016 interview, recalling the awe she felt upon seeing a flight crew walk by.

Nash told CNN that she applied for the in-air job after graduating from college, “and the rest is history."

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