Travel Etiquette: Do you give those in first class the “glare”

Travel Etiquette: Do you give those in first class the “glare”

Last Updated on June 22, 2020 by Amanda Stancati

We asked, you answered.

For those who usually opt for economy class, do you give the lucky ones in first class the glare? For those in first-class, do you feel like you’re getting glared at? Are people eyeing your coveted, spacious seats on their way in?

What’s first class? Haha, nah I do not glare, I say good for them and maybe one day I’ll get there – Jackie

No, I do not glare and the one time I was in first class I was so excited about being in first class you couldn’t have wiped the grin off my face. – Nancy

Before retirement I travelled business class, now that I have to pay for it myself I must use economy. What it boils down to is me just being jealous, I do try not to glare, but manage not to tear up remembering the old days. – Peter

I never get to fly first class. Too expensive. But I have been guilty of a stare or two directed towards first class, specifically looking for something in which to make fun of those sitting there. I’m not bitter though. Honest. – Melissa

Certainly, I may feel a tad envious, especially on long haul flights, of the comfort and amenities provided to people traveling in first-class. This being said, to actually feel such strong resentment to the point of glaring at the few fortunate people on the flight, well that’s just petty. Out of hundreds of flights taken, I’ve travelled in first four times, three of which were free upgrades. During one of my upgraded first-class flights I sat next to a lady who cemented my rule of never begrudging people in the “coveted” seats at the front of the aircraft. My fellow traveller was quiet during most of the transatlantic flight, but as the sun rose and we began our decent to Heathrow tears welled up in her eyes. I asked her if she was OK. She blurted out, “My seven year old son died a year ago, a friend said to treat myself…and this first-class flight was a treat…funny…it didn’t make anything better.” Those people we walk past, on our way to economy…we don’t know what their lives are like. Who are they? Exhausted business people who travel weekly and spend far too much time away from loved ones and family, how could I possibly begrudge them a comfortable seat and a decent sleep before yet another meeting that goes on far too long and accomplishes very little. A lady who treats herself but who is forever broken inside, how could I possibly resent her? Of course, there will always be the rich folk, who wouldn’t travel any other way, but lets be realistic it doesn’t mean their lives are better than ours back in economy. It simply means they’ve been more comfortable and get on and off the plane first. I consider myself to be very lucky and blessed every time I get to travel anywhere. To a lot of people, I’m living the dream. How many people are so busy trying to pay bills, feed and clothe their children that travel is simply beyond their reach? My son is attending his second year of university, he wants to get his doctorate and thus it doesn’t look like I’ll be traveling anywhere anytime soon. If I do manage to find the cash for a trip, I would be so happy that I’ve been given another chance to continue exploring the world that I certainly wouldn’t waste my time and happiness glaring at the folk travelling in first. Economy class is a great way to begin an adventure! – Marie

I don’t feel I’m being glared at in first class. People are curious about who’s sitting there but they don’t glare. Usually you hear them say “wow, how do get to sit up here?” People are quite nice actually.  -Nancy

I have to chime in on this one. Most times we go for leg room…normally worth it even if you become master if the emerg door operations. On our way to St Lucia we did the premium seat booking. that was fun. Preference boarding…first on after seniors and disabled. Lots leg room. Hot towels…snacks….chocolate. …champagne. Felt a bit out of place. Next time will be first class all the way baby! – Ken

I remember, and you may too, Canadian comedians Frank Wayne and Johnny Shuster and a skit from their CBC television program. It took place aboard a plane, with first class and “the common folk.” In first class they had a violinist playing and passengers were drinking champagne and eating caviar, etc. Real party time. Back in coach, the cabin crew would barely tolerate any request from passengers, treating them as sub-humans. The captain announced that coach passengers were to deplane and the sullen crowd shuffled through an exit door. Then the captain announced to first class passengers that the plane would be landing in Toronto in 15 minutes. Funny stuff, eh? – Ron

Share your point of view in the comments below!


  1. Marie hit it right on the money. Don’t presume anything about other people until you have walked in their shoes. You never know what someone else may be going through. Appreciate the good things that happen, no matter how small and persevere thru the bad times. Money doesn’t buy health or happiness.

  2. Most of us in the front didn’t actually PAY full fare. There are a few, but the vast majority of us are there because we have to fly so much it made sense to join the airline’s program and earn the miles to get upgraded, or to get in at a discount. Some don’t even fly much, but funnel credit card airmiles on everything they purchase into a few F trips once in a while.
    Fact is, I am up there following years and years of flying in coach several times a month, and if my upgrade doesn’t clear, I am still in coach alibeit in a “preferred seat” like an exit row.

    Most infrequent fliers are unaware of this, and think of the people in first as privileged and rich. It’s simply not true, and they fail to realize that as a result of the volume of flying we do, we have suffered many many many more hours in coach. More in any given month than they have in their lifetime. So there is no need for jealousy or reverse snobbery.

    I don’t get jealous glares from regular economy pax during boarding. You know who I get the jealous glares from? The other elite members who’s upgrades didn’t clear. The ones who were waiting with baited breath and constantly checking the app while at the gate, hoping for that call to to the desk to get the new BP. THOSE are the people who cast shade my way.

    If there are jealous glares from the general pop, it’s not on board. It’s at the shorter lines at check in and security. And I get it. You are 20 spots back from the TSA desk, and I stroll up on the other side of the stancheon and pass the whole line. I even had a guy in the regular line go off on me at one point, and then begin a rant as to why the GOVERNMENT was treating one group better than another (Answer, the line is not under TSA control. The airport controls that, and does the airlines bidding).

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