Times have changed since Bette Nash first entered the cabin, but good customer service, she says, remains a constant.
She’s been in service since the Eisenhower administration, but it seems that the passing of the decades is unable to slow Bette Nash, an 81-year-old flight attendant for American Airlines. Having spent 60 years in the cabin, she is something of a legend among both her cabin crew peers as well as the passengers she serves.
Reminiscing about her early days in the airline industry, Nash told The Washington Post that she’s been, “flying since Dwight D. Eisenhower was in the White House and a ticket for a flight cost $12.”
Originally working for the now-defunct Eastern Air Lines, she has outlasted strikes and the bankruptcies of various carriers and even shared a plane with the Kennedys. This gilded, glitzy era of air travel may be long gone, but there has been one constant, Nash says, that has served her well throughout her six decades in the cabin. “Customer service is about making customers feel good. Everyone wants number one — a little love and a little attention.”
While pilots are required to retire at 65 years of age, cabin crew are not bound by any such restrictions and so Nash has continued to work. As befitting her celebrity status, she commonly fields requests for autographs as well as photos from both passengers as well as fellow colleagues.
Karen Clougherty, one of Nash’s passengers, told the outlet that, “There’s just this spark — she’s the first one you see when you get on. She knows you and gives you a hug. I will change my schedule if I know Bette is flying.”
Kenneth Feinberg, an attorney who has had the pleasure of flying with Nash for nearly 30 years, said, “If Bette’s on the flight, you know everything is going to go well.”
Pavel Boress, a twenty-something flight attendant with American Eagle, is well aware of Nash’s legendary status but had only recently had the good fortune to meet her. “Everybody in the industry knows about Bette. She’s an inspiration,” he added.
[Photo: The Boston Globe/YouTube]