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Fountain Pens and Airplanes


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#1 dr4kds

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Posted 26 April 2006 - 11:57

I am taking a flight soon and want to take the pens with me. I read about pens leaking from the pressure changes and wondered if it was true, and if so, what do I need to do to prepare them for the flight.

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#2 twdpens

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Posted 26 April 2006 - 12:23

I've taken many flights with FP's in my carry-on bag. Just make sure they're full beforehand (or at least nearly full) and don't be tempted to use them on board just i case!

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#3 HesNot

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Posted 26 April 2006 - 14:01

I recently flew with a pared down collection - "51" aero flighter; "51" aero; Waterman Expert 2000. All were full prior to departure, all in carry on bag and for safety sake carried in small zip lock bags. Both "51"s leaked some into their caps and required some cleaning in my hotel room before I could use them. The Expert 2000 (full cartridge) was fine.

Stories and experiences vary it seems - the safe bet is to keep them in a plastic bag and as full as you can get them prior to departure. My experience was a little frustrating to be honest....
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#4 Slush99

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Posted 26 April 2006 - 14:05

You can't use fountain pens in an airplane? :o

:( :(
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#5 Michael Wright

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Posted 26 April 2006 - 21:53

The standard advice is to carry the pen EITHER completely full OR completely empty. It is safer to ensure the pen is upright, which is easier to ensure if you carry the pen in a pocket, but many people don't do that.

The two pens I've found that I'd trust are a Parker 61 (the capillary filling system works really well on planes) or the Namiki Vanishing Point (it's pretty leak resistant, and the trap door keeps any spills inside the pen).

Otherwise, with modern pens, it's a bit of a lottery. I've made a lot of flights with no problems, but on some flights I've had Aerometric "51"s -- normally very reliable -- spit into their caps. My flying isn't typical, as I mostly do long sectors, and it's the change in cabin altitude that does most of the damage, which happens as you go up and down. OTOH, I think prolonged vibration wouldn't be the best thing, either.

You can use FPs in aeroplanes, but you'd want to be *very* cautious as you open the pen for the first time -- holding the pen with one of those many little paper napkins you accumulate on a flight would be a good idea, as would holding it over the airline's soft furnishings rather than your clothes.

I have seen no reports of different results in business rather than cattle-class.

Best

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#6 Slush99

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Posted 26 April 2006 - 21:57

Thanks. I wonder how Cores would fare in airplanes... :rolleyes:
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#7 Johnny Appleseed

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Posted 26 April 2006 - 23:06

as would holding it over the airline's soft furnishings rather than your clothes.


:lol: :lol:
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You should get a Yink, I think.

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#8 Bigfella

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 08:18

I don't fly often, when I have flown keeping the pen upright for a few hours before flight and not taking it out of my shirt pocket to use until the ascent has finished has been successful so far. Same for the descent, pocket the pen early and there have been no problems. :)

#9 joseanes

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 12:32

I fly a lot and never have had an issue with my two Cross Century II cartridge/converter fountain pens the following:
1. Push the air out of the converter (pen, upside down, empty air until I see some ink in the nib).
2. I store my two Century II fountain pens inside a zip lock bag.
3. I put them into my carry on bag, below the seat in front of me, in the upright possition. :)
4. Once the plane levels off, I do take them out and use them. Never had an issue with them.

I have had an issue with needlepoint and rollerballs (disposable type). But never with my two trhustworthy fountain pens. I haven't tried pens that I can't release air from them. (Sac pens, pistons, or anything like that).

#10 Dip Head

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 13:37

I've flown internationally and cross-country with my FP's for years and never noticed an issue. No special precautions or procedures. They get much rougher treatment in my daily life anyway.

Your mileage may vary... ;)
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#11 Escribiente

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 18:09

I've written many pages in planes using fountain pens. The three rules I follow are very simple, and have worked for me always.
  • Allways fill the pen before departure. If this is not possible, I can always empty the air out (I use coverters or piston fillers, mostly).
  • Use screw-on caps only.
  • Open the pen holding the nib in an upwards position.
Other than that, I carry them in my briefcase, and have never had any leaks.

#12 nicholasyeo

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Posted 21 March 2009 - 08:38

Simply not use a fountain pen and try FISHER SPACE PEN.

#13 Shangas

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Posted 21 March 2009 - 10:29

It's not just a myth, fountain pens really WILL leak on an airplane if they're not properly stored. The basic rule is - when in doubt - Nib up.

Fill the pens, cap them, and put them nib-up in your coat or in your shirt-pocket. If this, for whatever reason, is not possible, or if you do not intend to use the pens during flight, then empty the pens and put them into your carry-on luggage. Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you have a penful of ink (be it half full or full-up) lying in a horizontal (or even worse, nib-down) position. This will cause the pen to leak as the air-pressure changes and expands and forces the ink from the pen.
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#14 archie001

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Posted 21 March 2009 - 10:34

QUOTE (dr4kds @ Apr 26 2006, 12:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I am taking a flight soon and want to take the pens with me. I read about pens leaking from the pressure changes and wondered if it was true, and if so, what do I need to do to prepare them for the flight.

Jack


There have been dedicated threads about this before, you might as well want to find them here.

Fountain Pen is for people who have a delicate taste in writing

Pens Actively In Use
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Parker Duofold Presidential Esparto sol.SS (FP-f, BP)
Parker Duofold PS SS (FP-f, RB)
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#15 welch

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Posted 21 March 2009 - 22:18

My daughter just flew to Korea and on to Japan with a Parker 45 (piston...full) and a Waterman Phileas (cartridge...full). I'd just given her the 45 for her journaling, and she was so happy ("It writes perfectly!") that I forgot. Oh...her first fountain pen.

No reported problems. Surprising, but that's the facts.

I'll know more when she returns.

Of course, she did no writing on the plane...just IPOD-listening.
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#16 cfclark

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Posted 21 March 2009 - 23:02

My 51s and Waterman Expert always seem to do just fine; the Parker 100 seems to be able to leak even if bone-dry. biggrin.gif I usually pare down to one or two, empty them out and bring a bottle of ink or the traveling inkwell. If I'm not traveling for work (I used to fly to work on a weekly basis), then I often just leave the fountain pens at home and bring a good cheap ballpoint (Signo 207s are good)--that way, if I leave it a hotel, it's not a crisis.
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#17 Pendragon

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Posted 22 March 2009 - 01:13

QUOTE (Shangas @ Mar 21 2009, 10:29 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It's not just a myth, fountain pens really WILL leak on an airplane if they're not properly stored. The basic rule is - when in doubt - Nib up.

Fill the pens, cap them, and put them nib-up in your coat or in your shirt-pocket. If this, for whatever reason, is not possible, or if you do not intend to use the pens during flight, then empty the pens and put them into your carry-on luggage. Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you have a penful of ink (be it half full or full-up) lying in a horizontal (or even worse, nib-down) position. This will cause the pen to leak as the air-pressure changes and expands and forces the ink from the pen.

The pen could also be placed in a cigar tube, obtainable from a local smoke shop. That way the mess will be contained should the pen lean in flight. If a given pen does not leak after a few flights, then the tube can be dispensed with.

Visconti makes some "double reservoir" pens that are supposed to resit leaking on airplanes. The Rotring Initial, now discontinued but occasionally found for sale, should also work.

#18 duna

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Posted 22 March 2009 - 01:15

Recently I have flown four international flights, and I had a Hero 100 (loaded with Pilot Ink Black) and a Pilot Capless VP (loaded with Diamine Sapphire Blue). I intentionally had them in a leather pen case in my pocket (brrr) stored vertically, and i used both many times on the plane. No problem whatsoever, both when full, when barely used (the Hero) and almost depleted of ink (the Pilot VP), just some hint of a wetter pen. I was lucly? Probably.

#19 PaulLeMay

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 02:03

I flew today (San Francisco to Dallas). I bought a Pelikan 250 and a Parker 51 Aero in my pocket. I filled the Pelikan last night, the 51 maybe a week ago. I put them both in a zip lock back but kept them in my pocket, upright. After we got to 35,000 feet I took them out and wrote with them. No problems.

#20 DanS

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 02:06

Some of you mention carrying ink bottles or inkwells. Is this with your carry on or your luggage? I've always thought it was impossible to carry any sort of "liquid" onto the plane with you.

#21 Steven

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 02:17

I fly all the time, never gave it a thought and just grabbed the next pen in my rotation on the day I travel and go. I have had them stored horizontal and vertical in my brief case and shirt pocket. I have never had one leak, blob or squirt and I use them all the time in flight writing away. I have used a Lamy 2000, Parker 100, Parker 45, Pilot VP and a Waterman Carene. My favorite for flying is the Lamy. It can pack loads of ink. I have even replaced empty cartridges while in flight. I have never tried to fill the Lamy though. That would be pushing my luck.

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#22 scutterdav

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 05:23

Anyone had experience flying with the Rotring Initial? I think I've read it has some sort of anti-leak thing built in specifically for use while flying.

#23 Takehiko

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 16:53

Just got back from a trip to London. Took my Safari with me and had no problems. Even used it to fill out the little customs card they give you on the plane. It did seem to write a little bit wetter than normal, but that may just have been the cardstock I was writing on.

#24 cfclark

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 17:04

QUOTE (DanS @ Mar 22 2009, 07:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Some of you mention carrying ink bottles or inkwells. Is this with your carry on or your luggage? I've always thought it was impossible to carry any sort of "liquid" onto the plane with you.


You can carry any (safe) liquid that you can fit into a quart "Freedom Baggie". wink.gif I just usually don't bother with my traveling inkwell, since pulling it out would probably generate more questions than I would feel like answering (given that it's a metallic-looking cylinder with a "mysterious" liquid inside).

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#25 MsLoathsome

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 17:10

I carried my first Parker Sonnet on all kinds of plane rides for 12 years and never had any problems at all. I just kept it in a small cosmetic case in my tote bag, and I also often used it mid flight to write in my travel journal. I didn't even know until I encountered this website that I might have a problem. I guess ignorance is bliss.
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#26 MattN

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 17:33

QUOTE (cfclark @ Mar 23 2009, 10:04 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (DanS @ Mar 22 2009, 07:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Some of you mention carrying ink bottles or inkwells. Is this with your carry on or your luggage? I've always thought it was impossible to carry any sort of "liquid" onto the plane with you.


You can carry any (safe) liquid that you can fit into a quart "Freedom Baggie". wink.gif I just usually don't bother with my traveling inkwell, since pulling it out would probably generate more questions than I would feel like answering (given that it's a metallic-looking cylinder with a "mysterious" liquid inside).

There's also a limit of 3 oz per container in the US (100 mL/3.4 oz in Canada). Most ink bottles are within this limit, but if you have any of the larger 4.5 oz bottles you'll have to leave them at home. You can have as many containers of this size or smaller as you want, but they must all fit into a single 1 quart/1 litre ziplock bag.

#27 cfclark

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 18:48

QUOTE (MattN @ Mar 23 2009, 10:33 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (cfclark @ Mar 23 2009, 10:04 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (DanS @ Mar 22 2009, 07:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Some of you mention carrying ink bottles or inkwells. Is this with your carry on or your luggage? I've always thought it was impossible to carry any sort of "liquid" onto the plane with you.


You can carry any (safe) liquid that you can fit into a quart "Freedom Baggie". wink.gif I just usually don't bother with my traveling inkwell, since pulling it out would probably generate more questions than I would feel like answering (given that it's a metallic-looking cylinder with a "mysterious" liquid inside).

There's also a limit of 3 oz per container in the US (100 mL/3.4 oz in Canada). Most ink bottles are within this limit, but if you have any of the larger 4.5 oz bottles you'll have to leave them at home. You can have as many containers of this size or smaller as you want, but they must all fit into a single 1 quart/1 litre ziplock bag.


Oops, I did leave that out--any 3-oz. or smaller container of liquid that can fit in the quart baggie--so you can't bring a quart of ink stuffed into the quart baggie. (I used to fly every week but now it's been six months; how soon I forget.)
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#28 Shangas

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 21:35

I have regularly carried bottles of ink with me when I fly, to no ill-effect.
"I, the proud owner of a fountain pen!" - Anne Frank.
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#29 publius

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 04:35

I just got back from air travel, carrying 3 fountain pens in my pocket. The Parker 45 with squeeze converter had no problems, nor did the Aldo Domani Sorrento (replaced nib) with nearly-full Waterman Florida Blue cartridge. The Shule 2112 (cheap Chinese pen with aerometric-style squeeze filler) ejected a quantity of ink, but this did not leak out. The Shule has proven difficult to fill completely, & I suspect there was an air bubble trapped in the reservoir.

I carried a small bottle of red ink & the same of black, using the Pear Tree Pens sampler bottles, filled using a medicine dropper. Nearly full & with the caps tightened down, they did not leak into the quart baggie — in fact they didn't even seep ink into the cap threads.

Edited by publius, 24 March 2009 - 04:37.

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#30 archie001

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 09:09

I have always been flying with fountain pens even using them during flights with no apparent problem. I just stuck the ink botte in my check-in luggage and I use to bring some cartidges also.
Fountain Pen is for people who have a delicate taste in writing

Pens Actively In Use
MB 149-f; MB Solitaire SS (FP-ef,BP,MP)
MB (LE) G.B.Shaw (FP-m,BP,MP); MB LeGrand (RB,BP,MP)
Parker Duofold Presidential Esparto sol.SS (FP-f, BP)
Parker Duofold PS SS (FP-f, RB)
Parker Doufold Marbled Green (FP-f,BP,MP)
Parker Duofold Marbled Gray (FP-xf)
S.T. Dupont Orpheo XL Platinum Diamond Head (FP-m)
S.T. Dupont Orpheo XL Platinum/ChinLacquer Black (FP-f)