Banning private jets is a policy slowly making its way in wonkish circles. But above else it is a natural reaction. How are people supposed to reconcile the energy crisis with the wastefulness of the super rich? Celebrities who brag about their private jets are facing growing outrage on social media.
Kylie Jenner is not the first celebrity who brags about their private jets. But the backslash she received this time raised higher waves across the Internet than in similar occasions in the past. The disgust about the bragging was quickly followed by the outrage at finding out that she also take minute-long trips, when short car trips would do. But this might not be the only explanation for the increased indignation.
Private jets embody the immunity to crisis of the ultra rich
As the pandemic swept across the world, plenty of people had to contend with great limitations and potential loss of subsistence means. Even higher middle class people in high income countries were compelled to make great sacrifices. Among others, they had to stop flying to their holiday destinations as international travel dramatically slowed down because of sanitary measures. What did the ultra rich do? They turned to private jets. They used them to keep flying when airlines left regular travelers stranded. They used them to minimize the amount of contacts with other people. They used them to skirt travel bans.
Then came inflation. As the world economy started to accelerate again after the pandemic was declared to not be a threat anymore, increased demand coupled with supply chains issues let some prices mount. Of course, rich corporations, their executives and the billionaires who are the major shareholders, jumped on the occasion to increase their profits. More private jets for them.
In February Russia invaded Ukraine creating a further humanitarian crisis and also an energy crisis in Europe and in the USA, which banned Russian oil. Gas and natural gas prices increased dramatically. Flying private jets is insanely expensive anyway, so for the ultra rich it did not make any difference.
People are catching up with this. They are not amused. The hypocrisy of famous people with private jets who talk about the environment is becoming more insufferable by the day. They are spontaneously going on social media to ask for private jets to be banned.