How to Master the Art of First Class Travel When You’re Inexperienced

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Whether you’re traveling for work, a honeymoon, or just feeling like splurging a bit, getting the chance to go on first class is incredible. You deserve to have that opulent adventure, right? Once you travel first class, it’s hard to ever go back to economy! You should see it this way: embarking on a journey in first class is not just a mode of's an immersive experience that promises unparalleled luxury and sophistication.

How to Master the Art of First Class Travel When You’re Inexperienced

Sure, this isn’t always going to be Orient Express level travel, but whether it’s a plane or train, you can feel confident knowing that it’s going to be incredible. But for those new to the world of first-class flying, navigating a new realm of plush seats, exclusive lounges, and gourmet dining can be both exciting and slightly overwhelming.

What do you even do? How can you ensure you don’t stick out like a sore thumb? While there’s nothing wrong with it being obvious that you’re not experienced in first class travel, it usually doesn’t help with feeling relaxed (as there’s the fear of being judged). So, how can you blend right in? 

Well, it’s actually not all that challenging, and for the most part, it’s not too different than traveling economy (of course, it depends on the method of traveling and the branding). So, here’s what any experienced person should know before they travel first class!

What’s So Appealing About First Class?
What makes first class, well, first class? What makes this so much better than economy class, especially when it comes to planes (and even more especially, international travel)? The allure of traveling first class extends beyond luxurious seats and gourmet meals. It's an immersive experience that encapsulates a world of exclusivity, comfort, and personalized service. 

Seriously, getting to board a plane first, and before take-off receiving a glass of champagne...what’s there not to like? From the moment of priority boarding to the spacious cabins and attentive cabin crew, first class embodies a level of refinement that transforms the journey into a destination in itself. The extra legroom, enhanced privacy, and meticulously curated amenities create an atmosphere of indulgence, allowing travelers to unwind and savor the journey. 

Plus, usually, the staff is a bit more friendly, and those who are surrounding you are quieter and more respectful. These other aspects are something to think about, too. There are rarely any crying children, no pets, and no one playing anything out loud from their phone; it’s just a better experience all around. 

First Class Etiquette That Every Beginner Needs to Know

I know you don’t want to stick out, but HOW? You’re going to have to do more than carry around a stylish suitcase of brands like Delsey Paris at, and there's more to it than carrying a luxury bag, or even how you dress. Sure, these are things you see influencers and celebrities do when traveling, but that’s as far as it goes. It’s the etiquette that really shows that you’re an experienced first-class traveler. 

How to Master the Art of First Class Travel When You’re Inexperienced

It’s All About Respecting Personal Space
First class often provides more spacious seating arrangements. You really need to respect the privacy of fellow passengers by avoiding unnecessary intrusion into their personal space (economy is known for basically invading space). Be sure to be mindful of how much noise you're making, and keep conversations at a considerate volume.

Boarding Courtesy
Take advantage of the priority boarding privilege that comes with first class, but do so with grace. You’ll need to avoid pushing or rushing and allow those who need extra time to board ahead of you. You don’t need to feel rushed like economy does. 

Dress Appropriately 
How you dress can have a bit of an impact on the experience. It really depends on how you’re traveling or even what brand, but in general, it never hurts to dress up nicely. While comfort is key, dressing appropriately for first class adds to the overall experience and shows that you fit right in. More on this later!

Be Polite
Usually, the cabin crew is friendlier towards first class passengers than economy passengers, so be sure to be polite toward them, too. The same goes for everyone that surrounds you, as well. 

Mealtime Etiquette 
By all means, you should absolutely take advantage of the gourmet meals offered in first class, but be mindful of the dining etiquette. You need to wait for the entire table to be served before starting your meal; use utensils appropriately. If you have dietary restrictions, inform the airline in advance. It is rude if you request this last minute (and there may be no options for you). 

Think About Your Devices
While electronic devices are common companions during travel, be considerate of those around you. Keep your devices on silent mode, use headphones when watching or listening to content, and dim the brightness of screens, especially during night flights.

Keep Noise to a Minimum
This is something that helps separate first class from economy: the atmosphere and the noise. Whether it's your conversations, electronic devices, or personal items, keep noise to a minimum. First class is a haven of tranquility, and being mindful of the noise level contributes to a more pleasant atmosphere. So don’t talk loudly, and don’t play anything on your phone or laptop without earbuds. 

How to Master the Art of First Class Travel When You’re Inexperienced

Recline Responsibly
You know how in economy, if someone reclines, there's a chance that you can no longer use your tray table? While yes, first class has a lot more space, you should still be considerate. Enjoy the comfort of your spacious seat, but be mindful when reclining. Avoid sudden or aggressive movements that may disturb the passenger behind you. If you need to recline your seat, do so gradually.

Be Mindful When Using Lavatories
First class cabins usually have exclusive lavatories (usually not for trains, though). So you really need to be considerate when using these facilities, keeping them tidy and minimizing the time spent inside to ensure others can access them efficiently.

How Should You Dress in First Class?

How you dress is important. While you don’t have to dress to the nines, and you don’t have to dress in athleisure either, you should dress smart; there needs to be a balance. 

You Need to Understand the Unwritten Rule of the Dress Code
It’s all really going to vary, but different airlines may have varying dress codes for first class passengers. While some maintain a formal atmosphere, others adopt a more relaxed approach. Before your flight, check the airline's guidelines to ensure your attire aligns with their expectations. What about trains? If you’re going on a more experienced-based train, like the VSOE, then you will need to dress a certain way, but for most trains in first class, it’s not required. 

Comfort Can Still Meet Class
First class is all about comfort, but that doesn't mean you have to sacrifice style. Opt for well-tailored, comfortable clothing made from high-quality fabrics. For example, if it’s the summer months, you could go for some loose-fitted linen trousers.

You Just Can’t Go Wrong with Smart Casual
When in doubt, smart casual will help you out! A smart casual outfit strikes the perfect balance between comfort and sophistication. For men, this might include a pair of stylish chinos and a crisp, collared shirt. But what about for women? Well, women can go for a tailored jumpsuit or a sophisticated blouse paired with tailored trousers or a skirt. Again, you don’t need to wear anything fancy (it’s not the 1960s anymore); just go with something modern and not-so-flashy, like what you’d wear to work. 

Be Tasteful with Accessories 
One thing you can always count on is the fact that accessories can elevate your look. It’s something that can massively get the job done, too, so be sure to consider adding a touch of elegance with a classic watch, tasteful jewelry, or a stylish scarf. However, avoid excessive accessories that may be cumbersome during security checks. But of course, most trains (unless going to another country) lack security checks, so you might not have to worry if that’s your mode of transportation. 

Footwear Matters
Again, this goes back to smart casual. So, you might want to opt for polished loafers, stylish flats, or ankle boots for a well-rounded look.

Think About Your Hair and How You’re Groomed
This one is probably a dead giveaway, but it never hurts to mention. Personal grooming is an essential aspect of first-class travel. The same can be said with your hair. You don’t have to put your hair in a sloppy bun and call it a day. Keep your hair (and beard, if this applies to you) presentation professional, like your clothing. Keep your makeup to a minimum, nails trimmed, go scent-free to avoid bothering people, etc.

When you upgrade to first class, you not only upgrade your seating, but the entire flight experience. Have fun!