Fast cars and jewellery are no longer enough to entertain the rich and famous, with air travel now the ‘it’ thing to brag about in their wealthy circles.
Whether they’re flitting around the world on private jets which they’ve either chartered or bought themselves or even flying into space, the likes of Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Drake and Taylor Swift appear to be clocking up enough air miles – and CO2 emissions – to last the rest of us a lifetime.
Cosmetics mogul Kylie, 24, purchased her private jet in 2020 for a reported $70million and has since kitted it out to her own personal taste, with ‘Kylie Air’ plastered on the side in bubblegum pink lettering and the interior boasting custom-made beige leather.
Last week, the mum-of-two fell was labelled a ‘climate criminal’ for short, frequent flights linked to her jet.
In one of her latest Instagram posts, Kylie is seen standing in front of two private jets – one for herself and one for her partner Travis Scott. She captioned the photo: ‘You wanna take mine or yours?’ which many branded tone-deaf for boasting about her lavish planes and appearing to use them excessively in the climate crisis amid claims her jet was used for 10-to-25-minute flights across California.
According to reports, the Bombardier Global 7500 jet flew for 35 minutes from Palm Springs to Van Nuys airport near her Hidden Hills mansion on July 15.
The plane then reportedly flew from Van Nuys to Ventura County on a flight which took only 12 minutes.
It’s possible Kylie wasn’t even on the flights but the controversy has highlighted just how reliant some celebrities are becoming on private jets as modes of transport.
Her older sister Kim, 40, has been using her private plane even more frequently in recent months with the jet finally refurbished with custom-made everything. The Skims boss debuted her expensive purchase – Kim Air – in a recent episode of the family’s reality series The Kardashians, and boasted of the cashmere seats and king size bed in the bedroom.
Drake famously bought his own jet in 2019 and it’s said to be worth more than an estimated $220m, particularly after he gave it an expensive sprucing up.
Kristina Rabecaite, CEO of the Renewable Energy Platform PPAYA told Metro.co.uk that she ‘empathises with time-pressed business people needing to travel fast between meetings over vast distances’, but that celebrities ‘should know better’.
‘To be making these totally unnecessary jaunts by private jet is both depressing and unacceptable, Rabecaite said.
It all comes down to emissions and the cost to the environment these fast jets and short trips cause, but how much more damaging are private jets compared to us hopping on a plane for our summer holidays across Europe and beyond?
Climate change researcher and comedian Dr Matt Winning said: ‘They’re about 14 times worse per passenger than a commercial flight and 50 times worse than simply taking the train.’
Yikes, so much worse, then. For those feeling bad about their few and far between air travel journeys, he reassured: ‘We should not be chastising average people for their annual family holiday when others are taking up far more than their fair share of aviation emissions.’
Rabecaite noted that Kylie’s private jet excursion would have ‘produced a whopping ton of carbon dioxide emissions, which is a quarter of an average person’s annual carbon footprint’.
‘It’s a grotesque amount of pollution for a 17-minute vanity plane ride,’ she stated.
The energy expert continued: ‘We have got to get a grip on this: private jets are emitting over 30m tonnes of greenhouse gases while carrying tiny numbers of people around the world.
‘I really hope that the understandable backlash over Jenner’s actions makes wealthy people think about the impact they are having on our planet.’
Dr Matt agreed and weighed in: ‘Flying is pretty much the most emissions-intensive activity humans have invented. And worst of all are private jets, the SUVs of the sky. Taking up far too much of the precious remaining emissions.’
According to the expert, private jet use has increased by 31% between 2005 and 2019 in Europe, with a fifth of those coming from the UK.
Sustainability-driven digital marketing agency Yard has also detailed the worst celebrity private jet offenders of 2022.
Their findings are pretty startling with the company’s data revealing that the celebs have emitted an average of 3256.36 tonnes of CO2 emissions in just their private jet usage this year so far. That’s 465.2 times more than the average person’s annual emissions.
Average flight times came in at just 68.51 minutes with an average of 66.92 miles travelled per flight.
Perhaps even more interesting is their biggest private jet offenders, which include Taylor Swift, Jay Z, Kim Kardashian and Travis Scott.
Private jet purchases among celebrities only seems to be gathering steam, so what’s the solution in cracking down on unnecessary flights?
Dr Matt said: ‘This luxury lifestyle of influencers is destroying society one Instagram post at a time. Now I get celebs might not want to be mobbed on a train but as that Spider chap once said, with great power comes great responsibility, and who are more powerful than celebs?’
The researcher suggested: ‘Private jets should be taxed at sky-high rates to discourage their use with the proceeds used to support research into short-haul electric and hydrogen planes to replace them.
‘At least that way Kylie would be doing some use and can take her three-minute flight when The Kardashians are on their 300th series without any judgement.’