What Not To Do: A beginner’s guide to first class

If you’re like me, you’ve spent the vast majority of your flying time back in coach, with your knees crammed into the seat in front of you while Hefty McShouldHaveBoughtTwoSeats spills over into your space. And, if you happen to travel more than the average Joe Schmoe, you may or may not have become accustomed to the procedures and etiquette associated with flying in the back of plane. We don’t expect much in the back of the plane: keep your shoes on, no reclining on short flights, stow your luggage quickly. That’s about it. Most anything else goes. But what happens up in the front of the plane? Are things different in first class? It’s a mystery to most of us, but luckily I’m here to help. I took one for the team and ventured into first class with no prior knowledge of what goes on up there. And today, I’m here to help other lost back-of-the-plane fliers on their first trips up front. Learn from my ignorance and your newbie flag won’t fly quite as high.

Boarding the plane

What not to do: Smuggly push past the gate lice crowding in front of the boarding lanes.
They already hate you for being in first – no reason to rub it in.

What not to do: When the flight attendant comes to take your pre-departure drink order, don’t ask for water.
It’s next to you. On your over-sized armrest. In a bottle. The flight attendant will point to it and ask, “Did you want another one?”

What not to do: Order a glass of wine pre-departure and then sip on it slowly so you don’t look like an alcoholic.
The flight attendants collect the cups prior to takeoff. Anything you don’t drink will be tossed. The flight attendant will come around to collect everyone else’s empty cups and apologize for having to take your full one. Drink up like an alcoholic or look like a fool.

What not to do: Glare at the economy passengers when they walk past and make snide comments.
Because they will. Just put in your earbuds, close your eyes, and enjoy your pre-departure drink. They’ll hate your contentment even more.

What not to do: Sit on your coat. Or store it in the overhead.
The flight attendants hang them up for you in first class. You’ll have to awkwardly pull yours out from under your butt and sheepishly hand it over to the flight attendant. You can use the pillows handed out at boarding if you need some extra lumbar support.

During the flight

What not to do: Take one snack from the basket.
You can take 2. Or 5. Or all of them! But you’ll look like a newbie if you only take 1. And the flight attendant will hold the basket in front of you for an uncomfortably long time, waiting for the second pick.

What not to do: Ask for a cup of water.
They don’t drink cups of water in first class…they drink schmancy bottled water. And you can have as many as you want.

What not to do: Use the over-sized armrest as a tray for food. 
There’s a tray in your armrest that can be pulled out. No need to pile everything on the three inches of plastic meant for your glass of wine. The flight attendant will be happy to reach over you to show you where it’s located.

Yep, that's real glass

Yep, that’s real glass

There ya have it. Follow these simple tips and you won’t look the fool on your first trip up front. And, yes, it will be everything you had imagined and more.



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