Bart’s Crowded Airplane Rant

Hello friends and slobbers. It has been a while since I have posted one of these, which I suppose is a good thing because that means I have not been on any planes lately. Well, I am flying home after a 10 day run, so needless to say, I cannot wait to land. It has been an amazing 10 days, but Daddy needs to get home! 

OK, so here is my rant…the first come, first serve seating on a certain airline. Now some people may enjoy the “jockeying” that takes place on these type of flights, but I hate it! If I am gonna pay the astronomical price to fly, I would at least like to have an assigned seat. Maybe it is just me, but when you are my size, you do not want to be stuck in the dreaded middle seat. Or even better, when you get a good seat and the one next to you is open. What a great feeling! You seriously feel like you got away with something. All of a sudden your worst fears come true as that last guy comes stumbling onto the plane right before they close the doors. As he slowly makes his way through the plane looking for an open seat, your prayer life kicks into high gear. “Please God not next to me. I will do anything. Go to Africa as a missionary…anything.” Then to add insult to injury, as soon as he realizes the only seat is next to me, he rolls his eyes as if – am putting him out! Does he not know I am the victim here? Man I am getting all fired up just thinking about it! 

Well I feel like it is my duty to share with you ways to avoid this ever happening to you. There are several ways to pursuade the late passenger to avoid the open seat beside you. Here are just a few. 

A couple of things to remember…I am normally traveling with the rest of the band, and we will usually take the window and aisle seats, so we are able to tag team whoever may consider sitting between us. Advantage: MercyMe. 

One simple trick is to simply place your carry on in the middle seat as if that person may be in the restroom or something. This may work, but the flight attendant usually shuts that one down pretty quickly. 

Another good one is when both of us will lift the armrests and spread out as much as possible and pretend we are asleep. This gives the late passenger about a 4 inch opening to try and squeeze in their seat. This works about 85% of the time which is not too shabby.

My personal favorite, and Jim Bryson is the best at this, is to really mess your hair up and stare at the passengers boarding the plane just a little cross-eyed without blinking. This always works because there is a universal law that nobody ever wants to sit next to crazy! 

Ok so there you have it. I hope this little rant proves helpful on your next flight. God Bless You and God Bless America.


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  • Tammy~S.L.O.B.

    I LOVE your airplane rants!! You are sooooo funny!!

  • Heidi Reed

    Oh my heck! If I ever see you clowns on a flight I am TOTALLY sitting in between you. Then I’m gonna fart. Ha!!!

  • Toby

    When we (myself, a 2yr old and a 5yr old..I know loads of fun) flew from Indy to Germany we experienced the jockeying on the first flight from Indy to Chicago. I got crazy looks because I thought the kids should maybe sit close to me.
    After sprinting through Chicago Ohare with the 5 yr old on my shoulders and the 2 yr old in my arms, cuz our first flight was delayed, the rest was great.
    On the 10 hour flight from Ohare to Frankfurt, we were 3 of the 9 people on the flight. We had dinner then each picked a 3 seat row to sleep on. I’m on the bigger side also, so it still ranked up there with the most uncomfortable nap ever, but much better the trying to catch a wink between a couple of sweaty folks!!
    Wow, a rant of my own…sorry, next time I’ll use my own blog :-).

  • Cynthia

    Hilarious! I don’t like to fly either. I will remember those tips.

    Heidi R. you wouldn’t really do that………..would you?

  • Rhonda

    You could fly on the more expensive airlines where they will assign you a seat and then you can pay to have your luggage checked, pay for some lousy snacks and I think I heard there is going to be a bathroom fee assessed on any flights over 2 hours!!!

  • Sandi

    haha, well, when I flew from Chicago back to CA, I was hoping that I was on the same flight as you since you were headed in the same direction. But you ended up taking the trip by bus. I guess it was a good thing…I didn’t want to be the one to say, “that was me”. lol.

  • Steve Murphy

    I used to travel with a friend who would grab the air-sick bag, hold it up to his face and look sick until the door closed… we NEVER had anyone sit between us!

  • MMmike

    Heidi…..that’s just nasty.

    I think I just threw up in my mouth a little….

  • Lisa

    Ah, the joys of air travel. Considering I’ve only been on a plane a handful of times in my life, I don’t run into these problems often. But thanks for the tips, Bart. I’ll keep them in mind. Hey, are you fully recovered? No more pneumonia? I felt so bad for you having to sing in that 100 degree heat in Schaumburg.

  • Lacey

    Wow, you’re not going to get much of a fan base from a certain airline since this is the second post you’ve done on this. Just an FYI… you should try the new Business Select product. You get to board first, get extra Rapid Reward points, and a free drink! (or you could take Rhonda’s advice and pay all the extra fees)

  • Heidi Reed

    MMmike: ROFL!!! Bet that tasted great! 😀

  • MomS

    Hey, Mike, don’t you come down on Heidi with that kind of stuff. Remember first dog barks…Love ya

  • Jen B

    That is why we drive everywhere. I hate flying!! No one would sit by me anyways, I have kids. And to top it off, my son and I would need the barf bags. So that’s a double whammy.
    On another note—Congrats on the baby girl, Bart!!

  • Tammie/Greenville

    Hmmmmmm…lets hae more cover bags and less ranting…..I look forward to the songs

  • candice

    Why are you flying on that airline anyway? I know you can find a better seat somewhere else.

  • Robbie Paisley

    The few times that I’ve flown it was a jumpseat through my company and I’ve never flown on a commercial flight before. However, I can understand your feelings because I wouldn’t like sitting in the middle either. Nor would I be crazy about having a complete stranger sitting that close to me during the trip. I don’t know the cost involved but maybe you guys should look into getting a small charter flight. At least you could have the plane to yourselves.

    Congrats on the baby girl news!

    Sam’s in second place, that’s great! I’ll try to donate some more because I would love to see him win.


    I guess i just need to form a band and travel with them.!!! I am glad however to learn some techniques for my future flights. By the way I LOVE THE you tube THRILLER video. ESPECIALLY THE DANCING MOVES AND LAUGHTER while singing on the other tunes. I just got back from hearing you in phoenix and orange county . i flew to ca just for the concert. THANK YOU FOR THE MINISTRY OF YOUR MUSIC. i was attached to the music of JS. Bach FOR YEARS AND HAVE FOUND YOUR MUSIC MOVES ME JUST AS MUCH AS THE PASSION MUSIC OF J.S. BACH. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

  • Kathy

    Hey Bart!, you are hilarios.
    I just want to say, that I am a big fan of you guys. I have all your cds, you make me dance, sometimes go on my knees and praise God.
    And I was in the concert on Friday 25th second row, in Santa Barbara CA. The concert was awesome, but I have to say that I was expecting more songs, ( sorry I know you were sick, but I just love your music)
    I took some pictures. Even before the concert I took a picture of Nathan and Barry . I really, really wanted to see you guys back stage , but of course I couldnt. How could I get back stage passes?
    You guys are amazing, its not only the music, but your voice, the lyrics. We can really feel your love for God.
    I thank God for you guys, God bless.

  • Kim

    Oh MAN! That’s too funny!! I travel a lot and have since come to the decision that the airline you’re talking about, and let’s all face it — we know which one — is NOT worth travelling on for that very reason!! The last time I flew with them I had an important meeting to attend once I arrived and wouldn’t have time to do the Superman/Phone Booth change prior to my meeting. So I’m dressed stylishly in a dress and stiletto heels. FYI — uncomfortable even when sitting. People starting jockeying for seats a FULL HOUR before the plane EVEN ARRIVED AT THE AIRPORT! We were all strung out like refugees waiting in this pathetic line, staring at the comfortable chairs and food vendors only a few feet away, knowing the punishment that would come if we even leaned too far away from the line.

    And don’t get me started on the seating arrangements! I’m trying crazy next time!!

  • april

    “nobody ever wants to sit next to crazy!”….oddly enough, that’s mine and my husbands motto when it comes to events with my family! 😉

    You guys be careful coming to Houston Friday. Cant wait to see yall!

  • Robin C.

    I think I can trump you Bart with my latest flying experience. This will be long, but it is 100% true. Ok, so last week I had to go to Richmond to facilitate a class for my company. Myself and 4 of my co-workers were flying into Charlotte last Thursday evening. Which by the way Bart, I am the shortest of all 5 of us (all 5′ of me) and I got the exit row window seat that does not have another seat in front of it. I could have laid on the floor and comfortably taken a nap! It was quite humorous for me to see David (one of the other facilitators, who is probably 6 6′ and 300 or so lbs, stuff himself in a “normal” seat. Of course I rubbed it in too! Anyway, so we land in Charlotte and Austin (another facilitator) gets off first because he has a bulkhead seat 4 or 5 rows ahead of me. I get off and decide to wait in the tunnel thingy for David, Matt and Rick. As I am waiting (about 3 minutes) all of a sudden the people who walked past me coming running back yelling, “get back on the plane!!! get back on the plane!!!”, so being the person that I am, I decide to wait until and OFFICIAL USAir person tells me that I REALLY do have to get back on the plane. Mind you, I REALLY have to use the potty, my eyeballs are floating because I refuse to use the airplane “smellatory”, but, nonetheless, I reluctantly get back on the plane at the persistence of my flight crew. I decide that I am just going to have to suck it up and use the smellatory, which I do, in first class (hoping it’s better)and as I am trying to pee as fast as I can while holding my breath, I hear the flight attendant tell the other one that a “young middle eastern man got through security and we have closed the airport down so that security can find him”, so I come out of the bathroom and they are shocked that they were not alone. I go and sit in my seat, and let Mike, David and Rick have it because I COULD have NOT waited for them and be sitting in a comfortable chair in the terminal. I got absolutely no sympathy b/c remember earlier I was bragging on my wonderful seat! Anyway, so about 45 minutes later they tell us we can deboard the plane. I decide to heck with waiting on them, I’m outa there, with David right behind me! Just as David and I make it past the tunnel door, I hear a airport person yell, “close the door now!!” and they close the door to our tunnel. Well, poor Matt and Rick are still on the plane, or tunnel, I’m not sure. But I am good because I am not on the plane. So, it’s obvious that something is going on because there are people, hundreds of hundreds of people just standing around. I tell David I am going to go see if our connecting flight is still on time for Columbia. Off I go to the tellatubes. As I am coming back to our gate, which is only maybe 15 ft from the flight information tv’s, an airport security guy rushes within inches of me and yells “I GOT EM!!!”. The next thing I see is that same airport security guy bear hug this guy standing maybe a foot from me and pile drive his head into the carpet! Within what seemed like a millisecond, they ziptied his feet and ankles and carried him off!! Now, talk about an adrenaline rush…or fear..I am not quite sure!!!! Finally, when they let Matt and Rick off the plane, David and I tell of our experiences nabbing the bad guy, Matt turns to me and says, “I should of known, everytime I fly, something happens!” I tell him I am NEVER flying with him again…because actually, the last time I flew with Matt (from Miami to Charlotte) we had issues..but thats a whole other story.

  • TLC

    Does anyone ever recognize any of you and give you a break? Maybe you should auction off a few backstage passes and fly first class instead.haha Congrats on the new baby!

  • Emma

    When I heard about you guys “tag-teaming” potential middle-seaters, I assumed that you meant tag-teaming with the gospel… like you slam them with a witness from BOTH sides.

    But noooooo.

    You stretch out and take “NAPS”!


  • Lisa K

    Hey Bart,

    I just love reading your rants. So many of them just ring true for all of us. I can tell that all you Mercy Me guys have thought up some seriously creative ways to discourage people from sitting next to you.

    The nose-picking guy always scares me away. You could try that one.

    My husband and I had the joy of sitting next to a guy that bragged about traveling around the US in a VW bus. I think showers were an optional thing during his trip, because, oooh eee…he made my eyes water! He looked like Kramer but smelled like Oscar the grouch. Yikes…

  • Trish

    Hey guys!

    Not to totally change the subject, but when are we going to get another installment of “Ask MercyMe Jim” or “Ask MercyMe Bart”? Just curious…


  • Z

    Hello Mercy Me!

    I don’t like to fly that other airline either. I mean, pretty soon we’re going to see chickens roaming around on board.

    Love, Z

  • Christie

    Your ideas are very clever 🙂 But you wouldn’t scare me away. Sitting next to Mercyme and all the entertainment that I hope would come with it would make the price of the plane ticket worth it. Heehee.

  • Rebecca T :P

    LOL those are some pretty smart ways of keeping people from sitting there…
    Heidi- you are so evil!! (and brilliant- thats not a bad idea at all…mwahahaha)

  • Rebecca T :P

    LOL those are some pretty smart ways of keeping people from sitting there…
    Heidi- you are so evil!! (and brilliant- thats not a bad idea at all…mwahahaha)

  • Rebecca T :P

    LOL those are some pretty smart ways of keeping people from sitting there…
    Heidi- you are so evil!! (and brilliant- thats not a bad idea at all…mwahahaha)

  • Rebecca T :P

    LOL those are some pretty smart ways of keeping people from sitting there…
    Heidi- you are so evil!! (and brilliant- thats not a bad idea at all…mwahahaha)

  • Rebecca T :P

    LOL those are some pretty smart ways of keeping people from sitting there…
    Heidi- you are so evil!! (and brilliant- thats not a bad idea at all…mwahahaha)

  • Rebecca T :P

    LOL those are some pretty smart ways of keeping people from sitting there…
    Heidi- you are so evil!! (and brilliant- thats not a bad idea at all…mwahahaha)

  • Jen

    Oh. My. Gosh. All I can say is, yes! That’s it exactly. That dang “last one on the plane” guy is the WORST!

    I’m totally trying the sleeping bit and may even add in some crazy. So that way, if I get woken up, I can still look too crazy to sit next to. Unless he’s cute…I wouldn’t mind being all squished up next to a cute guy.

  • Chuck Konderla

    I had a locker next to Bart from 7th grade through 12th. I just realized his hair was not a result of bad grooming, nor did he have a naturally blank and disturbing stare. He was just crowded next to me and perfecting a tactic that would later benefit him on crowded airlines. That might even explain his carry-on (backpack) hanging in my locker…weird. we are very proud of you and the guys Bart. You sing my children to sleep many nights.

  • Wayne Thomas

    This was absolutely hilarious! LOL! Nicely said!

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