American Airlines team member Bette Nash, a flight attendant based at Washington D.C.’s Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), celebrated her diamond jubilee (60 years of service) with the airline today.
At a ceremony at DCA, Jill Surdek, vice president – Flight Service, surprised her with diamond earrings to celebrate the momentous occasion and chairman and CEO Doug Parker announced a $10,000 donation to Sacred Heart Catholic Church Food Bank in her name. Bette regularly donates her time to the organization.
“My favorite part of flying over the years has been greeting my passengers as they board and deplane. People really are fascinating and it’s truly been a joy,”
“Bette has taken care of millions of our customers, around the world, for the past six decades,” said American’s Chairman and CEO, Doug Parker. “It’s the simple things that she does each day, like greet customers with a warm smile, friendly hello and thanking them for their business that has added to her legacy and ability to create an airline that customers want to fly. On behalf of Bette’s more than 120,000 fellow team members, we are honored to celebrate her and her milestone 60 years of service today.”
Bette has seen the aviation industry change dramatically over the decades. She began flying in 1957 when Dwight Eisenhower was president, flight tickets cost $12 and tickets required no reservation. Bette fondly remembers this era as aviation’s golden age when she flew with the Kennedys and served lobster and carved meats on platters.
As American’s most senior flight attendant, Bette can fly any route she’d like. Since 1961 Bette has often chosen to fly the shuttle route between DCA and Boston (BOS) taking customers back and forth all day.
Over the years, Bette has made several lasting relationships with customers on board the shuttle that have become like family. Simon Johnson, a Ronald A. Kurtz (1954) Professor of Entrepreneurship at MIT Sloan School of Management, is one of these customers. Simon flies the shuttle weekly and has done so since 2008. “I think what is most amazing and impressive about Bette is the way she warms up the entire aircraft. You walk on, you meet her, she knows your name, she remembers the conversation that she was having with you yesterday or last week or a month ago,” he said.
Bette and a few of her colleagues who work together regularly are affectionately known as the “Nash-Dash.” Instead of making a mad-dash between Washington D.C. and Boston, customers aboard Bette’s flight make the Nash-Dash.
“Bette has always looked pristine,” remembered fellow DCA-based flight attendant Helen Waters. “When Bette started flight attendants had to wear gloves, and she used to bring two pairs, just in case one got dirty while working.”
“I’m so pleased to be here in the terminal where I decided I wanted to be a flight attendant, and to be here celebrating my 60th anniversary still wanting to be a flight attendant means the world to me,” commented Nash. “My favorite part of flying over the years has been greeting my passengers as they board and deplane. People really are fascinating and it’s truly been a joy.”