Easy, Eco-Friendly Finds for Everyone. Shop Brightly!

Kylie Jenner and the Environmental Reality of Private Jets

Kylie Jenner's recent private jet flight highlights the unsustainable realities of this mode of transport. Here's everything you should know.

Written by
Brightly Staff

If you spend any amount of time online, you've likely heard about Kylie Jenner and her incredibly brief private jet jaunt. Rather than opting for a 45-minute car ride, she allegedly hopped in her jet for a 17-minute skyward trip from Camarillo to Van Nuys, California.

The choice of taking such a short flight has some calling her a "climate criminal." And according to @CelebJets, which tracks jet-setting habits of celebrities, this is a semi-regular occurrence. Drake's flight was tracked on the same day—an 18-minute, 38-mile trip that used an estimated 3,477 gallons of jet fuel. So, let's talk about the environmental impact of private jets.

The Environmental Impact of Private Jets

This isn't going to surprise you; private jets are just as bad for the planet as you think they are.

One private jet can emit two tons of CO2 in just one hour. And that adds up. A study published in the journal Global Environmental Change found private jet flights produced 33.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2016. 

In addition, according to findings from Common Wealth, the average private jet flight emits 10 times as many greenhouse gases as the equivalent economy class flight. It also emits 150 times more than a high-speed train journey of the same distance.

The mode of transport is an unabashed signal of wealth. Elon Musk, for example, claims he enjoys a frugal lifestyle with the exception of his $70 million private jet, which he took on 250 flights in 2018 alone. Other celebrities have been called out for taking short private jet flights too, including Taylor Swift, Mark Wahlberg, and Oprah Winfrey.

There are many reasons—safety being the most understandable—that the most wealthy among us choose to fly private. And, to be fair, private jets are also used for material and emergency transport, and are inching toward a more sustainable future.

But given the current collective heat wave, normalized natural disasters, and other in-your-face effects of climate change, the public outcry seems to come from the disproportionate amount of pollution being caused by this incredibly small segment of the population.

Can Flying Private Become More Sustainable?

Celebrities likely won't give up the luxury of private jets anytime soon. While opting to drive shorter distances is always a better option than hopping on a private flight, celebrities like Jenner can also focus on supporting companies that are working on making the experience more sustainable.

For instance, VistaJet announced it's committing to carbon neutrality by 2025. According to Elite Traveler, to do this, it's "investing in route-planning software to cut fuel burn, sustainable products, and using renewable energy on the ground." The company is also requesting that its customers give more advance notice, which "allows the company to schedule its jets more efficiently, saving fuel."

NetJets is making moves as well by announcing its Global Sustainability Program. The company is now including carbon offset options in all proposals to potential customers. It was also the first private aviation company to buy a stake in the production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), which "reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80% compared with conventional jet fuel." It has committed to purchasing a minimum of 100 million gallons over the next 10 years.

It's not just regular folks that need to prioritize the planet—it's celebrities, too. Whether it's choosing a more sustainable travel method or seeking out more sustainable services, every small change can make a big impact.