Owning a private jet is one of those far-fetched luxuries the average person can only dream about during a five-hour domestic flight cramped up in economy class.
For the uber-wealthy, a private jet is not just a luxury, but it can also be a pretty lucrative business. Celebrities can enjoy traveling anywhere on a moment’s notice, and when they themselves aren’t in the air, they can rent the jet out for others to use.
But while owning a personal getaway plane might sound like a dream, for the environment, it can be a nightmare.
Earlier this month, Kylie Jenner came under fire for a 17-minute private jet flight from Camarillo to Van Nuys. The flight shaved off only about 30 minutes of travel time, according to Google maps.
Experts estimate that an hour of flight time aboard a private jet introduces about two tonnes (also known as metric tons) of carbon dioxide into the air, meaning Jenner’s flight could’ve produced about a half tonne, or 500 kilograms, of CO2 during its brief flight. The average person, meanwhile, produces around 8 tonnes of CO2 — per year.
A 2021 report by TransportEnvironment.org found that private jets pollute 5 to 14 times more than commercial planes per passenger, and 50 times more than trains. And of all the carbon dioxide pollution produced by planes, just 1% of people account for 50% of all emissions.
So who are the worst offenders? Well, we may not know for sure, but thanks to the Twitter account @CelebJets, the same account that tracked Jenner’s flight, we have a good idea which celebrity-owned planes are the culprits.
The marketing and data analysis company Yard used data from CelebJets to rank the highest polluting planes that are owned by celebrities. And despite the headlines regarding Kylie’s flying habits, she didn’t even crack the top 10.
These are the celebrities whose private jets produce the most CO2 pollution:
1. Taylor Swift
The pop star’s PJ is the top CO2 emitting plane that CelebJets and Yard tracked.
“Racking up a total of 170 flights on her private jet since January, Taylor has amassed a vast 22,923 minutes in the air – 15.9 days. Quite a large amount considering that she is not currently touring,” Yard wrote in their analysis.
Reps for Swift have since criticized the ranking, attributing much of the flight time to other people who have rented her plane.
The star’s reps released a statement to Rolling Stone that reads: “Taylor’s jet is loaned out regularly to other individuals … To attribute most or all of these trips to her is blatantly incorrect.”
Still, the plane itself tops the list among celebrities.
2. Floyd Mayweather
The retired boxer came in second for the first time in his career. His shortest flight of 2022 was a 10-minute flight that landed in Las Vegas.
The rapper, producer and husband of Beyonce has 136 flights in his private jet which have emitted 6,981.3 tonnes of CO2, according to Yard. Jay-Z, like Swift, is not currently on tour.
The rapper, however, has a little bit of leeway. The jet was purchased by Puma, the shoe company of which Jay-Z is creative director. The jet is treated as a perk for athletes signed to the Puma brand, according to Rolling Stone.
4. Alex Rodriguez
Baseball legend-turned-business mogul A-Rod has taken more than 100 flights so far this year. The average flight time is about 80 minutes. His flights this year have introduced more than 700 times as much CO2 as the average person will produce all year.
5. Blake Shelton
Country superstar and “The Voice” judge Blake Shelton is one of the more surprising offenders on the list. His jet has spent more than eight days in the air since January, including a couple short flights between Oklahoma and Texas. It’s unclear how many of those flights also included Gwen Stefani as passenger.
6. Steven Spielberg
Hollywood director Steven Spielberg has traveled across the globe to tell unique stories and give a glimpse into how other parts of the world live. He’s apparently been doing his research in person, having taken 61 flights aboard his private plane in 2022. The shortest: a 48-mile Netherlands flight from Amsterdam to Rotterdam.
7. Kim Kardashian
Kylie’s older sister is the top Kardashian in ranking. Her flights (or at least, her plane’s flights) have emitted 4,268.5 tonnes of carbon emissions over 57 flights this year. That’s 609.8 times more than the average person emits in a year, according to the study.
8. Mark Wahlberg
Marky Mark’s plane is the biggest polluter in the acting community. His plane has made 101 trips this year. The shortest was a quick trip from Van Nuys to Palm Springs, which took about 30 minutes.
9. Oprah Winfrey
Flying in a private jet is apparently one of Oprah’s favorite things. “Winfrey’s $75 million private jet travels for an average of 81.13 minutes at a time with an average journey length of 101.26 miles,” according to Yard.
One of her shortest flights was from Van Nuys to Santa Barbara, where she owns a home in Montecito. That flight was a little more than 15 minutes and produced the equivalent of a half tonne of CO2.
10. Travis Scott
The “SICKO MODE” rapper is the partner of Kylie Jenner and the father of her two children. It’s unclear how many times the couple have flown together, but earlier this month Jenner was criticized for sharing a photo of the couple standing on the tarmac outside their private jets with the caption: “you wanna take mine or yours?”
Scott is guilty of averaging the shortest flights of everyone on the top-10 list. His flights in 2022 average fewer than eight miles per trip. You read that correctly, eight.
Again, it’s important to state that just because the celebrity owns the plane, doesn’t necessarily mean they were on the flight. Renting or borrowing private jets from others is very common in the jet-setting community. And the list only accounts for celebrity planes tracked by @CelebJets, not those owned by millionaires and billionaires who are likely responsible for a lot of the emissions.
To read more about the list and the criteria used to determine the ranking, visit the report on Yard’s website.