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Is it safe to take a fountain pen on an airplane?

Fountain pen users love to travel just as much as everyone else, so why not travel with your fountain pen even when you fly! There is the possibility that a fountain pen will leak in-flight when the air pressure in the plane cabin drops and the higher air pressure inside the pen forces ink out of the nib. However, there are some simple steps that can be taken to reduce or eliminate this risk.

First of all, it can help to travel with your fountain pen either completely full of ink (the air expands, not the ink) or completely empty (no ink, no leaks). Using cartridges with your pen is practical because you can travel with a new cartridge and an empty pen and insert the cartridge after you land.

It is best if you bring your fountain pens in your carry-on baggage instead of putting them inside your checked bags. For extra safety, put them inside ziploc bags and store them with the nib pointing up.

I've flown with both LAMY and Preppy fountain pens with varying amounts of ink in the cartridges and not had any problems other than a tiny bit of extra ink appearing on the LAMY nib. Alan has flown with a Kaweco Sport fountain pen containing a full cartridge as well as LAMY pens with only partially full cartridges and not had any leaks. The only problem Alan has encountered was with an eyedropper fill Kaweco pen that was not completely full of ink. This pen leaked small beads of ink during the flight. Do any of you have a flying with fountain pen experience that you would like to share with us?

 


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Comments

This is very timely, since I am flying (for the first time in months) tomorrow and am trying to decide what pens to take! This post gives me the courage to take one of my Kaweco Sport fountain pens with me.

I just returned from Athens to the UK with mixed FP results. Lamy 2000, Schneider left-handed cartridge pen: no leaks at all. Hero 616: minor dribble at nib. Esterbrook J: seemed dry but had actually squirted ink into the tip of the cap! Reform 1745: worst problems, leaked half a fill, cap now soaking to remove traces. I have learned an important lesson: take fewer, newer pens on vacation, and let the older ones rest up at home.

David - Thanks for your comments! I personally don't have any vintage or old fountain pens (yet) so I've been unable to comment on what happens to them during air travel. I'll keep your experience in mind for the future.

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