Can You Bring a Pen on a Plane?

Yes, you can bring a pen on a plane. But since there are so many kinds of pens, you can’t exactly live by this rule. 

For example, fountain pens require extra caution. Meanwhile, tactical pens are the only type you can not have at all.

This article will address all kinds of writing implements, the TSA rules that regulate whether you can bring them, and some travel tips. 

What Does the TSA Say About Bringing a Pen on an Airplane? 

The TSA list of things you can and cannot bring on a plane does not prohibit pens. 

In fact, it does not even mention them because they are innocuous. They can not do any substantial harm to another person. 

But not all pens are as safe as a regular ballpoint. So, let’s dive into the separate TSA rules. 

A Ballpoint Pen

You can safely take regular ballpoint pens on a plane. Since the risk of danger is minuscule, you can bring a normal pen in your checked luggage or carry-on luggage.

But, just remember that if this object is expensive or special to you, you should keep it in carry-on bags because items sometimes disappear from checked baggage. 

A Fountain Pen

The regulations concerning fountain pens can be tricky. 

Because it contains ink, the TSA may regulate it as a liquid. And if the TSA does consider it a liquid, you have to carry it in a quart-sized bag when in your carry-on luggage.

However, there are no liquid amount regulations for checked bags. 

Fountain pens also need some extra care because they do not react well to cabin pressure changes. The air bubbles in the reservoir may expand and push the ink outward as a result of the external pressure changes.

The ink thus can leak in your quart-sized bag. Therefore, you should wrap the pen in plastic when you pack it to prevent damage to other items. 

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A Tactical Pen

A tactical pen is never tricky when it comes to the airline and TSA regulations. The TSA confirmed that they do not allow you to carry a tactical pen on an airplane no matter what. 

Tactical pens are self-defense weapons disguised as regular writing instruments. So, both technically and non-technically, they are weapons and the TSA cannot let you bring one on a plane.

Since these objects are sharp, strong, and sturdy, you don’t face any difficulty stabbing someone. Therefore, the TSA does not allow them so that they can keep the airplane safe. 

Pens That Can Explode

Writing implements that can explode are a bit risky to bring on a plane, as we’ve discussed above with fountain ink pens. But, there is another type of pen that can explode mid-flight: rollerball pens.

A rollerball pen has the same capability as a fountain pen of exploding ink inside the plane cabin.

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The Transportation Security Administration Officer Still has the Last Say

On every page of regulations on the TSA website, you will see a note at the foot end. This message clarifies that the TSA officer at the security checkpoint gets the final word about which things can and cannot go on a plane.

The TSA should not bother you about regular pens. But, ultimately, they make the final decision on prohibited items and are the only ones who can give you the green light to bring them. 

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The Bottom Line

For the most part, you can bring all kinds of writing implements in your carry-on or checked baggage, but damage to your other items may be possible if they explode. 

More importantly, you can never have a tactical pen knife on a plane. Even if you beg or try to pay an additional cost, this item can not go on the plane.