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Thread: Fountain Pens and the TSA

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    Senior Member DrChumley's Avatar
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    Default Fountain Pens and the TSA

    So, I'm going to be doing some traveling in the not-to-distant future, and I'm visiting with some folks who are becoming big Fountain Pen fans, so I wanted to take my collection. I have one of those Monteverde 48-pen wallets, and was planning to load all of my pens into that and carry it on the plane with me.

    Has anyone ever had issues with the TSA allowing them to take their fountain pens on the plane? Particularly so many fountain pens at once. I have this horrible recurring nightmare where I get to the airport, go through the TSA screening checkpoint, and they tell me I can't take my fountain pens with me because they can be used as weapons or something stupid like that. And I have to make the choice between missing my flight or getting rid of thousands of dollars of fountain pens. And I don't really want to put them in my suitcase, since I know how those things are beat up in transit.

    I know I tend toward the hysterical and melodramatic anyway, but has anyone ever had issues with bringing their pens on board the plane?

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    Senior Member Lady Onogaro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fountain Pens and the TSA

    I can't imagine why you would have any problems; each holds only a miniscule amount of liquid. And if you can bring knitting needles and crochet hooks on a plane (which you can, by the way), I don't know why TSA would object to fountain pens. But you can call them, I think.
    Lady Onogaro

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    Senior Member Kaputnik's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fountain Pens and the TSA

    Short answer, no problems, although I doubt if I've ever traveled with more that three fountain pens, plus a couple of rollerballs and mechanical pencils. I have imagined that the TSA might think a nib looked like a weapon, but perhaps I am more paranoid than they are, as it has never come up. They usually ask for your confirmation when examining items more closely, so you can tell them not to pull the caps off but to unscrew them. And having said that, I don't think they have ever looked closely at my pens, and a couple of them are usually clickable Pilot Vanishing Points anyway. As for fountain pens holding liquid, I doubt if they even know, but I generally have a couple of empty ziplock bags with me that I could use. Sometimes I put the pens in them anyway in case of leaking due to pressure changes.

    I would think that any reasonable person, seeing forty-eight "fancy" pens in a high quality case would believe that you're a collector who doesn't want to trust his valuable collection to the baggage handlers, if you're on a domestic flight. If it were an international flight, perhaps customs might become suspicious.
    "So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do."
    Benjamin Franklin

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    Senior Member Silverbreeze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fountain Pens and the TSA

    Domestic flight?

    Yeah if they ask call yourself a collector. I would have most of them uninked too. But I am guessing that was a given with 48 pens anyhow
    Tom
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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fountain Pens and the TSA

    I know a number of the sellers at pen shows carry large collections of pens, always in carry-on luggage. It shouldn't be a problem.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    The Nibsmith dannzeman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fountain Pens and the TSA

    I've flown a few times in the past year with as many as 30-40 pens and never had an issue. They were more concerned about the bottle of ink in my bag than they were the pens.

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    Senior Member Tracy Lee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fountain Pens and the TSA

    I have had my pens scrutinized and rescanned and examined. Metal tubes with liquid and a rod in the center have not engendered happiness with TSA. But they can't tell you that they violate anything so be patient. My trip to DC last month I had 2 cases and about 26 pens. In the end no issues, but they were scanned twice in DC. I wouldn't worry too much at all about them. Never check them in luggage, you will never see them again. I treat them like jewelry.

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    Senior Member DrChumley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fountain Pens and the TSA

    Thanks, all. That's tremendously reassuring. They'll all be uninked, so the whole "liquid" thing shouldn't be an issue, and any bottles of ink I'm bringing will be put in 3 zip-top bags, bubble, wrapped, and boxed before being put into my checked luggage. (Either that, or I'll just ship it there ahead of me, which is probably a better idea.)

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    Senior Member Silverbreeze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fountain Pens and the TSA

    If you can afford it ship the ink well padded
    Tom
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    Senior Member Robert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fountain Pens and the TSA

    Make sure you wear your official FPG pin, and everything will be cool. (Of course, you'll have to remove it before passing thru the scanner/metal detector.)

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    Senior Member tandaina's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fountain Pens and the TSA

    Nope. Even carried a Visconti portable inkwell full of ink, in my carry on and they didn't care.

    I travel a lot and have never had them so much as blink.
    Last edited by tandaina; June 8th, 2014 at 06:25 PM.
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    Default Re: Fountain Pens and the TSA

    I carried 10-12 with me on a trip from Salt Lake City to Denver in March, all inked. Not a word was said.
    Brad "Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind" - Rudyard Kipling

    "None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain-pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try." - Mark Twain

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    Default Re: Fountain Pens and the TSA

    I would put the pencase in a Ziploc bag inside your carry on.

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    Senior Member Jeph's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fountain Pens and the TSA

    I have travelled with up to a dozen (mostly all inked) on international flights and they never looked twice. I admit that I had a grea deal of angst leading up to that though.
    What I told myself was that with them being in a nice case all I had to do was take one out and write with it and all would be well.

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    Default Re: Fountain Pens and the TSA

    On every flight I have four pens in a zippered folio . They are always carried onto the plane and never given a second glance by the TSA
    or European authorities.
    Enjoy showing your beauties!

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    Senior Member KBeezie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fountain Pens and the TSA

    I think they'd have more problems if you were bringing on large bottles of inks than with the pens themselves.

    Also if you're just a user who has 2 maybe 3 pens on you inked, I don't see it as a problem either even with maybe a small box of cartridges, or a couple 3 to 5ml sample vials. (though if you have syringes and other stuff, that might be a little odd).

    I think the only time I had a chat with TSA was when I was bringing about 5 cameras and such thru security on a trip to New Orleans (before Katrina), and two in particular they were interested in because they couldn't xray it at all (I made sure that I didn't have any film in the cameras, and my rolls were handed off for hand inspection instead of going thru the xray, though generally anything under ISO 800 survives security xray fine, but not checked baggage).

    The two in particular were two older rangefinder style cameras both made of heavy metals, a Canon P from 1958 with a heavy brass encased lens, and a mid-40s Univex Mercury II (half frame camera), which I had to show them how to get them opened and show that they worked etc.

    They of course did a similar thing with my laptop just to make sure it turned on. (apparently if it turns on, then not enough of the components could have been replaced or something, but it's not that hard now days to save some space in the HDD slot with a compactflash or SD card, or to reduce the battery capacity so not sure what exactly that proves).

    Here is their website, with the Liquid Rules.

    http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/3-1-1-carry-ons

    And here is the list of prohibited items.

    http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-informat...ohibited-items

    When in doubt just check their website or call them.

    tsa_fp.jpg
    Last edited by KBeezie; June 9th, 2014 at 03:17 PM.

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    FPG Donor ♕ alc3261's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fountain Pens and the TSA

    Quote Originally Posted by tandaina View Post
    Nope. Even carried a Visconti portable inkwell full of ink, in my carry on and they didn't care.

    I travel a lot and have never had them so much as blink.
    I did that too, again no issue. I was glad they didn't make me drink it!!

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