Longest-serving flight attendant, 86, says bosses used to insist she was single

The world's longest-serving flight attendant, 86, started flying in 1957 and remembers a time when passengers would pay at the plane door as if it were a bus.

American Airlines' Bette Nash, from Manassas, Virginia, is the oldest and longest serving flight attendant in the world, according to Guinness World Records.

Ms Nash said that times have changed in her near 65-year career, and said that airlines used to go to her home to check up on whether she was single, as having a partner was banned.

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The airline also weighed her before shifts and could suspend her if she gained too much weight, she said.

“You had to be a certain height, you had to be a certain weight. It used to be horrible. You put on a few pounds and you had to keep weighing yourself, and then if you stayed that way, they would take you off the payroll,” Nash said during a flight in 2017 with ABC affiliate WJLA cameras onboard.

In the early days, passengers paid the flight attendant when they boarded, Nash said.

Her service means she has been allowed to pick her route, and has largely stayed loyal to the New York-Washington-Boston Shuttle.

Ms Nash said flights cost $12 (£10) between New York and Washington in the early days.

“We used to pass out cigarettes and matches…on the flight, after the meal service, I would go around with Kent’s and Marlboros,” she told WJLA on the 60th anniversary of her first flight.

Ms Nash still attends regular flight attendant training per Federal Aviation Administration rules, ABC reported.

She said in a chat with AirlineStaffRates.com that she quickly fell in love with the 'spiffy appearances and gracious manners of the crew members' at the beginning of her career.

"I wanted to be a flight attendant from the first moment I got on an airplane," she also said to CNN.

"I was 16 years old and the flight attendant walked across the hall and I said, 'That's for me'."

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She says that technology is what has changed the job most.

"Gone are the days of hand-written tickets, stickers for seat assignments, and chalk boards," she said.

Ms Nash added that the "very conservative" uniform has also changed drastically.

"The attire when I first started was very conservative, then we started getting really out there," she recalled to CNN. "After that, things started calming down a little bit."


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