Frequent Flyers

Kylie Jenner’s Instagram post raises concerns surrounding celebrities overuse of gas-guzzling jets.

On July 15, 2022, Kylie Jenner posted on Instagram to remind the world that she and her boyfriend have not one, but two private jets. Her recently choosing a 12-minute plane ride over a 40-minute car ride caused some controversy, as some people believe this is harmless, while others are outraged. So how much damage do these personal planes really cause, and is there a better solution than flying private?

Celebrity usage of private jets has been a long standing controversy; most people focus on the financial and privacy aspect, while the harm being done to our climate is hardly acknowledged. The average passenger vehicle emits 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, while a jet associated with boxer Floyd Mayweather has produced 7,076 metric tons as of August 2022. Worse, some of the jet’s flight times have been recorded as low as ten minutes. Private jet usage is common among celebrities, and many of them participate in this frequent flying. Rob Zynda, Troy High AP environmental science teacher, recently shared his thoughts on this issue.

“It’s interesting to see how much carbon is released into the atmosphere via private jets per person compared to what’s going on with commercial jets.” 

Researchers have said to keep the climate at a healthy level, everyone on Earth should keep their carbon footprint to a total of 2.3 metric tons per year. Private jets emit two metric tons of carbon dioxide per hour, while commercial flights only release 0.04 per hour. Celebrities are reaching their individual carbon limit every single day while others don’t come close to reaching their limit in a whole decade. 

When asked about why celebrities need private jets, David Aldinger, Troy High AP economics teacher, stated, “It’s completely up to them. That’s their money, and they can decide how to spend it.” However, that wasn’t all Aldinger had to say about celebrities flaunting personal planes across the globe. 

“What does bother me is the hypocrisy of people who tell of a clean environment  and global warming and then they jump on private jets. That is bothersome.” 

Senior Emily Kim, president of the environmentalist club at Troy High, voiced her opinion on whether or not celebrities should be allowed to fly private:

 ”I wouldn’t say that celebrities can’t use private flights due to safety concerns, but it would be more environmentally friendly if they went on flights that had more people on them to reduce their environmental impact.” 

Kim also stated, “Private jets are a method of transportation that allows for people to be separated from the general public. In the case of celebrities it can also be a form of safety from potential threats.”  

Although private jets are not very environmentally friendly, they do provide an important level of security for celebrities. An example is Air Force One, the president’s own “private jet.” While it’s not the most environmentally friendly way to travel, the necessity for a more secure means of travel is a genuine concern. 

Even though many accept that private jet usage is harmful and that there are many more convenient healthy alternatives, “It’s based on our capitalistic society- if they can do it, they’ll do it,” Zynda noted. No matter how much outrage, no matter how much pollution, Jenner and Mayweather will likely continue to debate which of their private jets they should take to cross the street.