Flying lanterns: reasons why you should not use them
Religious Festivals

Flying lanterns

Chinese lanterns, wish lanterns or sky lanterns

The dangers of using flying lanterns

Whilst flying lanterns are a popular and beautiful sight, the potential damage they can cause is significant: 

  • lighting and launch are mostly in the control of the user, however, the actual flight path and destination are usually not - flying times suggested by manufacturers vary from 6 minutes up to 20 minutes with heights claimed to be up to 1 mile
  • there is no guarantee that the fuel cell will be completely out and cooled when the lantern eventually lands - any contact with a flammable surface could start a fire 
  • there is evidence of flying lanterns causing serious fires, wasting police time, being mistaken for distress flares, misleading aircraft and killing livestock 
  • the risk of these things happening will only increase if more use is made of Chinese lanterns, therefore we do not support their use and would ask you (and event organisers) not to use them 


What are flying lanterns?

Flying lanterns are also known as Chinese lanterns, wish lanterns or sky lanterns. 

Traditional flying lanterns go back thousands of years in both Chinese and Thai celebrations, but are becoming more popular worldwide for celebrating weddings, birthdays, anniversaries or any other special event.

What are they made from? 

The lanterns are generally made from paper supported by a wire frame with a holder at the bottom for a solid fuel cell. The paper outer may or may not be fire retardant. 

Sizes and shapes vary, but are usually 90cm high with a diameter of about 80cm.