Pens and Aeroplanes

Old Aug 3, 18, 2:55 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Manchester, UK
Programs: Emirates Skywards (Gold), Hilton (Diamond), Radisson (Gold)
Posts: 238
Pens and Aeroplanes

I like a good pen.

Specifically, rollerball pens like a Lamy M63 or a Parker Gel.

Without exception though, when I take them on a plane, the ink flow becomes very inconsistent, and no amount of holding it vertically, writing/scribbling for long periods of time etc allows it to recover - if I want to carry on silky smooth gel rollerball writing, I need to buy a new refill.

I fly about 8 times a month, so replacing the refills in my favorite pens is very impractical, I also can't take new refills with me when I travel because they will suffer the same fate.

The problem seems fairly obvious in that the pressure changes of flight cause the problem, but I can't believe that the manufactures ignore this problem. I've contacted both Parker and Lamy and neither could offer much advice.

So, FT community, can you help me:

1) Am I the only person in the world that experiences this problem so regularly?
2) If not, does anyone have any tips for reviving a refill that has been on a flight.
3) Does anyone have any recommendations for gel rollerball refills that are more pressure resistant than the two mentioned above.
4) Should I just get a fountain pen?

Thanks,
Ryanardo_daVinci is offline  
Old Aug 3, 18, 4:36 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: London & Sonoma CA
Programs: UA 1K MM, Hertz PC, BAEC Silver
Posts: 8,001
I would strongly advise against a fountain pen on a flight. Any issues with ink flow and you have a serious mess on your hands - or shirt or trousers or seat....

Personally, I've never had any problem with cheap ball points on planes, which seem to work fine. Not satisfying but functional, a bit like flying itself.
Yoshi212 and shuuy like this.
lhrsfo is offline  
Old Aug 3, 18, 5:38 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: North o' PWM
Programs: Bonvoy Lifetime Titanium, AA Gold, UA Silver, Hertz President's Circle
Posts: 3,729
Originally Posted by Ryanardo_daVinci View Post
I like a good pen.

Specifically, rollerball pens like a Lamy M63 or a Parker Gel.

Without exception though, when I take them on a plane, the ink flow becomes very inconsistent, and no amount of holding it vertically, writing/scribbling for long periods of time etc allows it to recover - if I want to carry on silky smooth gel rollerball writing, I need to buy a new refill.

I fly about 8 times a month, so replacing the refills in my favorite pens is very impractical, I also can't take new refills with me when I travel because they will suffer the same fate.

The problem seems fairly obvious in that the pressure changes of flight cause the problem, but I can't believe that the manufactures ignore this problem. I've contacted both Parker and Lamy and neither could offer much advice.

So, FT community, can you help me:

1) Am I the only person in the world that experiences this problem so regularly?
2) If not, does anyone have any tips for reviving a refill that has been on a flight.
3) Does anyone have any recommendations for gel rollerball refills that are more pressure resistant than the two mentioned above.
4) Should I just get a fountain pen?

Thanks,
Do you have the issue using these pens while in-flight, or only after arrival? If the latter, I'm guessing that as atmospheric pressure increases when descending, the ink is forced back from the ball assembly at the writing tip leaving it with a small air gap between the ball and the tip.

Have you tried holding the pen by the opposite end and "shaking it down" much like you would an old mercury thermometer? Alternately, attach the pen securely to a foot or two of string and twirl it overhead quickly for 15-30 seconds?
Dodge DeBoulet is offline  
Old Aug 3, 18, 2:34 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,517
Do you fly with the pens tip up?

I bring back gel pens & refills in my carry-on, stored any which way, and they write without issue. Have you thought about a pressurized ballpoint like a Uni Tank? https://www.jetpens.com/blog/guide-t...ce-pens/pt/748

I have also resigned myself to functional "cheap and cheerful" (mostly ballpoint) pens while traveling and prefer extra fine points. JetPens offers gel pen sampler packs if you're willing to spend a bit for testing https://www.jetpens.com/Gel-Pen-Sets/ct/2676 Many of the Japanese pen manufacturers offer a nicer "office pen" which accepts their refills and there's also independent pen makers which offer pens that accept a wide variety of refills.
freecia is offline  
Old Aug 3, 18, 5:00 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Programs: Delta
Posts: 58
I haven't experienced this problem with gel pens in flight or after a flight. Maybe try switching to a different brand or model of gel pen? The few times I've carried a Uniball Signo 207 gel pen it's worked fine on board and later.

If you choose a fountain pen, try to keep it with the nib pointing up during the flight - that minimizes the chances of pressure changes forcing the ink out and creating a mess. (Other tips include keeping the pen either completely full or completely empty of ink.)

As others have remarked, ordinary ballpoint pens work fine. I usually carry an old-fashioned Pilot V5 rollerball pen and can testify I've never had a problem with ink flow or leaks any time (even though the company's web site suggests that it's really not leakproof in flight). The "RT" retractable models of rollerball pens from Pilot are guaranteed to be flight-safe.
Bandicoot is offline  
Old Aug 4, 18, 8:18 pm
  #6  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Pittsburgh
Programs: MR/SPG LT PLT, AA LT PLT, HH GLD, UA SLV, Avis PreferredPlus
Posts: 25,019
I've never had any problems with numerous cheap-o pend or with various Montblancs, Watermans or Pelikans.

(There were all roller or ballpoints, never a fountain pen)
CPRich is offline  
Old Aug 4, 18, 8:59 pm
  #7  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: ZOA, SFO, HKG
Programs: UA 1K 0.9MM, Marriott Gold, HHonors Gold, Hertz PC, SBux Gold, TSA Pre✓
Posts: 10,287
Originally Posted by Ryanardo_daVinci View Post
1) Am I the only person in the world that experiences this problem so regularly?
No, although my problems were different.

Originally Posted by Ryanardo_daVinci View Post
2) If not, does anyone have any tips for reviving a refill that has been on a flight.
Don't use one.

Originally Posted by Ryanardo_daVinci View Post
3) Does anyone have any recommendations for gel rollerball refills that are more pressure resistant than the two mentioned above.
No.

Originally Posted by Ryanardo_daVinci View Post
4) Should I just get a fountain pen?
Absolutely yes. The easiest solution ever.

My document holder always has a UA ballpoint pen just for the purpose of using in-flight. Using pens with other designs will simply end badly.
garykung is offline  
Old Aug 5, 18, 1:20 pm
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Manchester, UK
Programs: Emirates Skywards (Gold), Hilton (Diamond), Radisson (Gold)
Posts: 238
So the spinning the pen around idea had limited success, but I couldnt spin it any faster, so I tried this:





Unfortunately I think that I drove for too long and actually forced all of the ink out of the refill.
freecia likes this.
Ryanardo_daVinci is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread