Authors find writing first chapters challenging for many reasons. Ideally, we should:
Phew! That's a lot.
Let's take a look at a highly effective first chapter, from Taylor Jenkins Reid's Maybe in Another Life. (Here's the first chapter.)
At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. Shortly after moving back to her hometown of Los Angeles, she goes out to a bar with her best friend, Gabby, and reconnects with her high school boyfriend, Ethan. Just after midnight, she is offered a ride home by each of them.
So how does Reid tackle her first chapter?
When introducing your protagonist, take a cue from Taylor Jenkins Reid and give us readers some kind of familiar scenario (like a plane ride), make it special (like a move back home after ten years of searching for purpose), add sympathy (like a woman helping a stranger) and find a natural way to reveal back-story (like a life story to distract someone who's afraid to fly).
All this is decidedly not easy, but it is possible - and readers want and deserve the possible to be made real.
Writer, reader, runner, teacher, father, infp, huffleclaw.