Brian Flyin’ with His Fountain Pens

I recently went on a business trip where I had to fly, which is something I don’t normally do. I have a Fountain Pen 101 video where I talk about how to transport your fountain pens in flight (here), check that out if you plan to fly. It’s good info there, but I wanted to put myself to the test! So I flew with a few of my favorite pens and video journaled my experience. Enjoy!

Write On,
Brian Goulet

2017-10-11T13:58:06+00:00 May 19th, 2014|Tips & Tricks|68 Comments
  • Reven

    Really ! No writing during the flight ? 🙂

    Thanks for the demonstration !

    • Yeah, if I’d thought about it I’d have done that. It was a short flight and we didn’t really get a chance to put the trays down or anything.

  • Reven

    Really ! No writing during the flight ?

  • There are definitely some pens that behave better than others in the air. I’ve found the 2000’s and my Omas’ a bit annoying to fly with. Otherwise I’m flying basically every other week with pens either stored pointing up or on their sides with very little issue.

    • Yeah, I’m sure the type of pen does matter. I’m told vintage/bladder fill pens are worse.

  • There are definitely some pens that behave better than others in the air. I've found the 2000's and my Omas' a bit annoying to fly with. Otherwise I'm flying basically every other week with pens either stored pointing up or on their sides with very little issue.

  • BizDevCon

    What about using one of those sliding service tubes – like ones from Mont Blanc or Pelikan – for protection of the pen in your carry-on?

    • You could definitely do that, I’m not sure how much that’d protect it from leaking though. Maybe help contain a really bad leak.

  • BizDevCon

    What about using one of those sliding service tubes – like ones from Mont Blanc or Pelikan – for protection of pen in carry-on?

  • Nancy

    I just flew from the US to Norway with four fountain pens. I keep them in a hard eyeglass case (how I normally carry them around anyway). Just as a precaution, I put them in a ziplock bag. But no problems at all. I had a Noodlers, a Pelikan, and two Pilot Varsities. They were in my carry-on.

    • Ah, that’s a cool idea! I’v never heard of anyone doing that, that’s cool.

  • Nancy

    I just flew from the US to Norway with four fountain pens. I keep them in a hard eyeglass case (how I normally carry them around anyway). Just as a precaution, I put them in a ziplock bag. But no problems at all. I had a Noodlers, a Pelikan, and two Pilot Varsities. They were in my carry-on.

  • Wilco

    Nice to see a real test instead of written experience.

    I fly every week at least 1return flight and I’m recently into fountain pens and even more recently started to take FP with me.
    My experience so far:
    Pelikan M101N Lizard M nib didn’t leak on 1 return flight
    Lamy Safary M and B nib didn’t leak on 4 return flights
    Lamy 2000 F nib didn’t leak on 1 return flight.
    All pens were Never nib up stored(horizontal or nib down) , packed in a ziplock bag in my carry on luggage.

    • Wilco

      Today I flew from and to the UK in a Fokker f50 and my lamy 2000 and a Parker (don’t know the type, cheap one) did not leak on both flights.

  • Wilco

    Nice to see a real test instead of written experience.

    I fly every week at least 1return flight and I'm recently into fountain pens and even more recently started to take FP with me.
    My experience so far:
    Pelikan M101N Lizard M nib didn't leak on 1 return flight
    Lamy Safary M and B nib didn't leak on 4 return flights
    Lamy 2000 F nib didn't leak on 1 return flight.
    All pens were Never nib up stored(horizontal or nib down) , packed in a ziplock bag in my carry on luggage.

  • I’m surprised how many people use a ziplock bag. That seems very belt and suspenders to me.

    You’re never going to get a huge amount of ink espressed from the pen because the cabin pressure doesn’t really change all that much (and if it did you would have a lot more serious issues to contend with then a bit of ink).

    Any leakage will be contained within the pen, and the only leakage is likely to be in the cap of which they all seal very well to the pen in the first place (to prevent the nib drying out).

    The only thing I would ever suggest after flying is to be a little careful when opening the cap.

    • TJ

      Many caps do not seal that well to the barrel, most are not watertight like TWSBI and others with an O-ring seal. The caps that snap on have no real seal at all and ink can dribble out of those caps. Lamy is one popular example.

      • That’s not necessarily true, I can think of a bunch of snap cap pens that seal really well. Platinum Preppy for one, Platinum Cool, Pilot Prera, Pilot Metropolitan, and so on. But generally yeah, snap caps may not seal as well.

    • Yeah, I think you’re right here. I’ve rarely heard of any significant leakage.

  • I'm surprised how many people use a ziplock bag. That seems very belt and suspenders to me.

    You're never going to get a huge amount of ink espressed from the pen because the cabin pressure doesn't really change all that much (and if it did you would have a lot more serious issues to contend with then a bit of ink).

    Any leakage will be contained within the pen, and the only leakage is likely to be in the cap of which they all seal very well to the pen in the first place (to prevent the nib drying out).

    The only thing I would ever suggest after flying is to be a little careful when opening the cap.

  • Papertatoo

    Thanks so much for the demonstration. It’s great to see it in progress. I have an off topic question. What camera was used to do the in-flight video? The quality of the images is really clear.

    • You can thank Apple for that one 🙂 iPhone 5s, with the camera on the back of the phone. Rachel was next to me filming it.

  • Papertatoo

    Thanks so much for the demonstration. It's great to see it in progress. I have an off topic question. What camera was used to do the in-flight video? The quality of the images is really clear.

  • $29304501

    I was curious if you explained first to the people around you what you were doing or did you just start talking to the camera?

    • Nope, didn’t explain a darn thing. Hence, the creeped out looks, haha! Funny enough though, on the return flight there was a group of people that included apparently some other blogger who was also recording something about having just gone vegan, or something like that! So I wasn’t the only blogger on that flight 😉

  • Waski_the_Squirrel

    I was curious if you explained first to the people around you what you were doing or did you just start talking to the camera?

  • David

    You don’t say if these pens were full (as they should be) when you flew.

    Also, why didn’t you take a vacuum filler such as a Pilot Custom 823 or TWSBI Vac 700 with lock-down seal with you as a control?

    Supposedly the pen to compare against in these airplane leak trials is the venerable Parker P51 Aero. Mine don’t leak. Where is YOUR P51 Brian?

    Sigh… At least TSA still lets you bring writing instruments on a plane. But watch out – one pen incident on-board, and we’ll all be writing with crayons 🙁

    • Yeah, this wasn’t a 100% thought-out video. I’d have brought a better array of pens if I’d really planned it out, but I was more concerned with the (real) business that I was tending to at my destination. As for the ink levels, they varied. I’m pretty sure I mentioned that in there somewhere.

  • David

    You don't say if these pens were full (as they should be) when you flew.

    Also, why didn't you take a vacuum filler such as a Pilot Custom 823 or TWSBI Vac 700 with lock-down seal with you as a control?

    Supposedly the pen to compare against in these airplane leak trials is the venerable Parker P51 Aero. Mine don't leak. Where is YOUR P51 Brian?

    Sigh… At least TSA still lets you bring writing instruments on a plane. But watch out – one pen incident on-board, and we'll all be writing with crayons 🙁

  • Reilly Irvine

    Brian! When will there be a “quick look” video for the Stargazer? The internet has almost nothing on them… would really like to see a writing sample too! Thanks. (=

    • That’s on my to-do list! Cool pen, really. I’ll get that done soon, I promise.

  • Reilly Irvine

    Brian! When will there be a "quick look" video for the Stargazer? The internet has almost nothing on them… would really like to see a writing sample too! Thanks. (=

  • TJ

    Many caps do not seal that well to the barrel, most are not watertight like TWSBI and others with an O-ring seal. The caps that snap on have no real seal at all and ink can dribble out of those caps. Lamy is one popular example.

  • Tom Johnson

    Great practical experiment and report Brian! Only a drop or two comes out when the pens are pointing down. With the pens pointing up the drop or two probably flowed into the fins in the feed and then returned back into the convertor/reservoir upon descent to the ground.

    • Yeah, it wasn’t as extreme as I was expecting (or hoping, honestly!)

  • Tom Johnson

    Great practical experiment and report Brian! Only a drop or two comes out when the pens are pointing down. With the pens pointing up the drop or two probably flowed into the fins in the feed and then returned back into the convertor/reservoir upon descent to the ground.

  • soniasimone

    I usually bring a Vanishing Point & a Safari with me when I travel, and I haven’t had any issues with either. Sometimes I also bring my Nakaya, and that’s a good traveler as well, no issues. (knock wood)

    I don’t take a lot of precautions with them, actually, they’re not even necessarily nib-up.

    • I don’t think you really need to sweat it too much, clearly. That’s cool you travel with all those, Sonia!

  • soniasimone

    I usually bring a Vanishing Point & a Safari with me when I travel, and I haven't had any issues with either. Sometimes I also bring my Nakaya, and that's a good traveler as well, no issues. (knock wood)

    I don't take a lot of precautions with them, actually, they're not even necessarily nib-up.

  • Michael

    I’ve made several flights now with TWSBI 580 & VAC 700 pens. The caps seal the nib & feed very well. No leaks at all!

    • Nice! Yeah, I wouldn’t expect any issues especially with the Vac 700. That pen seals up the ink chamber when closed, ideal for flying!

  • Michael

    I've made several flights now with TWSBI 580 & VAC 700 pens. The caps seal the nib & feed very well. No leaks at all!

  • John

    Thanks for the video Brian. I’ve flown with fountain pens for the last two years and used them in the cockpit during climb, cruise and descent. The only one I’ve had significant trouble with is a Pilot Metropolitan. I think this was due to the squeeze style(cleaning) converter. It seems that any pen that uses a vacuum to fill the pen would do well since they need to be airtight to work.

    • The Metro, really? Ah well, I guess I could see that. The bladder doesn’t help, I’m sure. But if you had a Con-50 converter in there I bet it’d be fine.

      • John

        Since that post, I received a fine nib Pilot Metropolitan with a Con-50 converter. I have taken it on a few flights, and it performed very well. So it seems it was more of converter issue than a pen issue. I usually take 2 or 3 fountain pens on trips with me. So far, the Lamy Accent with the rubber grip is my favorite. However, I want to try a VAC 700.

  • John

    Thanks for the video Brian. I've flown with fountain pens for the last two years and used them in the cockpit during climb, cruise and descent. The only one I've had significant trouble with is a Pilot Metropolitan. I think this was due to the squeeze style(cleaning) converter. It seems that any pen that uses a vacuum to fill the pen would do well since they need to be airtight to work.

  • Wilco

    Today I flew from and to the UK in a Fokker f50 and my lamy 2000 and a Parker (don't know the type, cheap one) did not leak on both flights.

  • Yeah, if I'd thought about it I'd have done that. It was a short flight and we didn't really get a chance to put the trays down or anything.

  • Yeah, I'm sure the type of pen does matter. I'm told vintage/bladder fill pens are worse.

  • You could definitely do that, I'm not sure how much that'd protect it from leaking though. Maybe help contain a really bad leak.

  • Ah, that's a cool idea! I'v never heard of anyone doing that, that's cool.

  • Yeah, I think you're right here. I've rarely heard of any significant leakage.

  • That's not necessarily true, I can think of a bunch of snap cap pens that seal really well. Platinum Preppy for one, Platinum Cool, Pilot Prera, Pilot Metropolitan, and so on. But generally yeah, snap caps may not seal as well.

  • You can thank Apple for that one 🙂 iPhone 5s

  • Nope, didn't explain a darn thing. Hence, the creeped out looks, haha! Funny enough though, on the return flight there was a group of people that included apparently some other blogger who was also recording something about having just gone vegan, or something like that! So I wasn't the only blogger on that flight 😉

  • Yeah, this wasn't a 100% thought-out video. I'd have brought a better array of pens if I'd really planned it out, but I was more concerned with the (real) business that I was tending to at my destination. As for the ink levels, they varied. I'm pretty sure I mentioned that in there somewhere.

  • That's on my to-do list! Cool pen, really. I'll get that done soon, I promise.

  • Yeah, it wasn't as extreme as I was expecting (or hoping, honestly!)

  • I don't think you really need to sweat it too much, clearly. That's cool you travel with all those, Sonia!

  • Nice! Yeah, I wouldn't expect any issues especially with the Vac 700. That pen seals up the ink chamber when closed, ideal for flying!

  • The Metro, really? Ah well, I guess I could see that. The bladder doesn't help, I'm sure. But if you had a Con-50 converter in there I bet it'd be fine.

  • John

    Since that post, I received a fine nib Pilot Metropolitan with a Con-50 converter. I have taken it on a few flights, and it performed very well. So it seems like it was more of converter issue than a pen issue.

  • Mary Bucklew

    Maybe women are different than men when it comes to carrying pens around – on a plane, in a car, etc, but most times, my pens (and I have a few that I carry around) are horizontal when traveling, ie, in the bottom of my bag or purse. Even if they are in slots in a briefcase etc, even the case ends up horizontal at some point in the journey. Isnt this only a problem if you have it upside down in a shirt pocket (and who does that anymore???)

  • Mary Bucklew

    Maybe women are different than men when it comes to carrying pens around – on a plane, in a car, etc, but most times, my pens (and I have a few that I carry around) are horizontal when traveling, ie, in the bottom of my bag or purse. Even if they are in slots in a briefcase etc, even the case ends up horizontal at some point in the journey. Isnt this only a problem if you have it upside down in a shirt pocket (and who does that anymore???

  • Matthew

    Greetings.

    I recently flew to Spain and intentionally took my pen with me to see how it would react to airplane rides. I brought along my Lamy Safari EF with Z24 converter as well as my free eyedropper pen that was included with my Noodler’s Baystate Blue ink. I put both in a Ziploc bag to avoid any surprise ink spills. My Lamy didn’t leak one bit, and performed well when jotting down some notes during the flight. However, the eyedropper pen oozed Baystate Blue ink allover. So glad the mess was contained to a disposable plastic bag. However, I can’t complain about a free pen that writes well so long as you are not in an airplane.

  • Matthew

    Greetings.

    I recently flew to Spain and intentionally took my pen with me to see how it would react to airplane rides. I brought along my Lamy Safari EF with Z24 converter as well as my free eyedropper pen that was included with my Noodler’s Baystate Blue ink. I put both in a Ziploc bag to avoid any surprise ink spills. My Lamy didn’t leak one bit, and performed well when jotting down some notes during the flight. However, the eyedropper pen oozed Baystate Blue ink allover. So glad the mess was contained to a disposable plastic bag. However, I can't complain about a free pen that writes well so long as you are not in an airplane.

  • Forrest Howe

    New to Goulet videos. Even a little ink can spoil a shirt. So I agree with Matthew that I always carry my fountain pens (don’t leave home without them!” in a Ziploc bag. I did like the suggestion to take a Qtip along and swab out the cap when able.

  • Any issues with TSA and filled fountain pens? I know the know if you take ink it needs to be in your one plastic bag, but what about just inked pens?