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65 and 80 years with American Airlines

An 86-year-old woman is world’s longest-serving (and oldest) flight attendant, and Azriel “Al” Blackman is a 96-year-old celebrating 80 years of service – both with American Airlines.

An 86-year-old American Airlines flight attendant has been recognised by the Guinness World Records as the longest-serving and oldest flight attendant in the world.

Bette Nash of Boston has been working at American Airlines for 65 years, which Guinness says is a record.

She became a stewardess in 1957.

Nash was given the option to choose any route she wants and for most of her career, she has been loyal to the New York-Boston-Washington D.C. shuttle, ABC’s Sam Sweeney reports.

Nash chose and continues to choose this route because it allows her to be home every night with her son, who has disabilities and whom she cares for to this day.

“I fly hundreds of thousands of miles a year, but these are always my best flights when Bette is on the plane,” said one passenger.

Azriel “Al” Blackman

Al is an aviation maintenance technician based in New York. Blackman was awarded a  certificate from The Guinness World Records for having the longest career as an airline mechanic.

In 1942, Blackman graduated from Aviation High School in Manhattan and started working at American Export Airlines (a predecessor to American Airlines). He was 16 years old at the time and needed permission from his parents to start working. He initially worked as an apprentice in the sheet metal shop, making 50 cents per hour.

Even today, Al starts work at 5am, often arriving at 3am.

For his 75th anniversary back in 2017, the airline dedicated a Boeing 777 in his honour, which they then took Blackman on a joyride over New York. Airline officials promised to top the event every five years, and unveiled a mural to Blackman featuring a vintage Douglas DC-3 that took Mr. Blackman and his family for a flight over New York City.

Many will no doubt be in disbelief that a 96-year-old is still working, and make wonder about the jokes he makes about the “American dream.”

In his long career, Mr. Blackman has worked on planes that are now part of airline lore, including a Sikorsky flying boat, which, in 1942 — when American Airlines was called American Export Airlines — inaugurated the company’s trans-Atlantic routes. He was already celebrating 25 years with the company when the world’s first jumbo jet, the futuristic-looking Boeing 747, became part of American’s fleet.

“The first airplane I worked on was very crude; it had none of the systems modern airplanes have,” Mr. Blackman said of the flying boat.

Mr. Blackman said he still did not have any plans to retire.




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