I’m going to do something different with this post because the three trans-continental trips I’ve taken while carrying various fountain pens do not make me a subject matter expert in this area. Instead, I was hoping to hear from you, the jet-setting traveler.
Let’s discuss airplane-friendly fountain pens. I’ve had excellent experiences flying with these two:
On the left, a TWSBI Vac Mini and on the right, a Wing Sung 698.
The Wing Sung 698 is a piston-filler with a locking cap that keeps the piston from moving when you don’t want it to. Because it’s a piston-filler, it’s easy to fill extra-super-duper full, which keeps ink from leaking out as the pen travels from the ground to a pressurized cabin at 35,000 feet. I’ve noticed a bit of ink creep on the nib during flight, but no ink drops in the cap or anywhere else.
The TWSBI Vac Mini is a vacuum-filler with a valve that can be closed to seal the ink chamber in the barrel. The valve works. The pen performs as well in the air as it does on the ground, and the ink stays put. With a Vac Mini, you don’t have to worry about refilling the pen before a flight. It’s the most convenient pen I’ve found.
I’ve taken cartridge pens on flights, but I ended up with ink in the caps when they weren’t completely clean before takeoff. Even being careful about keeping the pen upright didn’t help when faced with the force of expanding air. I still take cartridge pens with me on trips, but I clean them before I leave and only ink them when I arrive at my destination.
And my precious vintage pens? Just, no.
What are your experiences flying with fountain pens? Any tips to share? Better yet, any stories of disaster?