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Can you bring your fountain pen in flight without getting ink everywhere?

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When you are used to having your favorite fountain pen within reach all the time, you may not want to leave it behind when you go on business trips or even vacation. Unfortunately, we have all seen what changes in cabin pressure can do to travel-size toiletries. You are right to be concerned that the ink from your pen could spill all over your luggage in transit. Keep reading to find out more about traveling with fountain pens from our pen enthusiasts.

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Martin Seeley

Martin Seeley

Martin Seeley, CEO of MattressNextDay.

Top it Up Before Your Flight

You can bring a fountain pen on a flight depending on how much ink it’s carrying. A full fountain pen won’t leak because [there is no] air to expand and mess with your ink. That’s why bringing an old, partially filled fountain pen is most likely to mess up your luggage.

George Mouratidis

George Mouratidis

George Mouratidis, Marketing Professional at SIM Tourist.

How You Carry Your Pen Matters

When traveling with a fountain pen, the main issue is ink spilling from the pen due to cabin pressure variations. Ink spilling from a fountain pen is due to capillary action and gravity.

Carrying a fountain pen inside your luggage is fine. You may carry a fountain pen as long as the nib is pointing upward. Gravity and any other pressures will not force ink from the pen if the nib is kept pointed upward. If you are unable to do so, I advise you to empty your pen or simply leave it.

Lucas Travis

Lucas Travis

Lucas Travis, Founder of Inboard Skate.

Three Safe Ways to Travel with a Fountain Pen

If you intend to fly with a fountain pen, you have three simple choices for keeping the pen and your other possessions safe during the flight:

  • Load your pen to the maximum with ink, leaving no room for air.
  • Remove all of the ink from your pen.
  • Store your inked pen in a well-sealed container.

This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors are not necessarily affiliated with this website and their statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.


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6 comments


  • Ian Schon of Schon Design, creator of the Pocket 6, claims to have created a fountain pen that is sealed so well, that leaks on an airplane will not happen. Would love to hear from someone whose tested this out. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a pen that can deal with cabin pressure variations without the need to do anything special? His pens are a little beyond what I’d want to spend, but I’d do it if I could be confident a Pocket 6 could be my airplane pen that doesn’t leak? Ian, maybe you could weigh in on this topic. I know your background is in mechanical engineering, so your input on this topic would be great!

    Richard Tourigian on

  • I agree with Robert Ellis. Have flown dozens of times with fountain pen wrapped in a paper towel inside a ziplock bag (quart size). Never had a problem.

    Paul Bishop on

  • I’ve done all three — usually #1 (filling the pen completely); I also bring refills — sample vials are GREAT for that BTW because they’re convenient and if you put a few in a ziplock bag they’re at hand if you need or want to write or draw something while mid-flight.). I had less trouble with sample vials than I did with my facial cleanser and toner - which got confiscated because they were more than 4 oz. - in carry on-luggage. But nobody ever batted an eye over a half dozen ink samples in my purse….

    Ruth Morrisson on

  • Waterman’s Safety Pen solved the problem years ago.
    I would buy a replica if they made one.

    G. E. McLaughlin on

  • Another option is to use a pen with a cartridge and simply remove the cartridge before traveling.

    Bill Hicks on


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