The stators of the first stage of a gas turbine are exposed to severe temperatures. The coolant streams introduced to prevent the stators from thermal damage further complicate the highly three-dimensional flow in the vane passage. Recent results have shown that, in addition to these coolant streams, the coolant streams injected for cooling the combustor also influence the flow physics and the cooling effectiveness in the first-stage stator vanes passage. However, the effects of changing the mass flow rate of these combustor coolant streams on the passage flowfield have not been studied. As understanding the coolant transport is necessary for analyzing changes in cooling effectiveness in the vane passage, detailed aerodynamic and thermal measurements along the whole vane passage are required. This two-part paper presents such measurements taken in a first-stage nozzle guide vane cascade for a variety of combustor coolant and endwall film coolant flow rates. The experiments were conducted in a low-Mach-number facility with engine-representative Reynolds numbers and large-scale high-level turbulence. The objective of the first part of the paper is to describe the flow that influences endwall and vane surface cooling effectiveness distributions, which are presented in the second part of this paper. The measurements show changes in the passage flowfield due to changes in both combustor coolant and endwall film coolant flow rates. Overall, the flow-physics remains largely unaffected by changes in coolant flow rates except in the endwall-vane surfaces region where the combustor coolant flow rate dominates changes in coolant transport. This is shown to have a high impact on endwall and vane surface cooling.