LOL: Private Jet Company Boss Defends Private Jet Flying by Saying Pets Pollute More

We were raised to believe that there are things in life that money can't buy. You can't buy happiness, you can't buy respect, you can't buy time, and you can't buy love... or so we thought. At least one thing on this list is not like the others.
Luxaviation CEO Patrick Hansen says owning a pet is more polluting than flying private 36 photos
Photo: Luxaviation (Composite)
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You can buy time – not in the sense of heading out to the store and purchasing a certain quantity of time ("Can I get about 2 hours of your finest, most relaxing time?"), but in terms of being able to afford certain things that give you more free time or more time to do stuff you love. They can range from anything from a slow-cooker or air-fryer to a faster and more efficient car, a personal assistant always on hand, and the ability to charter a private jet whenever you need to.

Flying private buys time, but it also buys heightened comfort and luxury features, and these last two annul the other one, turning it into an indulgence. At least it does in the eyes of the rest of us, who end up picking the bill.

If there's one thing that remains constant about the world's richest is that they don't like being made into targets. Criticize them if you must because your words have zero power over them, but if you're loud enough to generate talk of enforcing legal measures against some of the things they do, they will resent it. And they might just come for poor Fido, who has never been anything but the bestest boy.

Kim Kardashian's jet
Photo: Hulu
This is exactly what happened earlier this week during a Financial Times summit with Patrick Hansen, the CEO of Luxembourg-based private jet charter company Luxaviation. Talk is heating up that private jet flying is the biggest evil in the aviation industry, and some countries are even considering banning private flights on routes accessible by other means of transport, either commercial flights or on-land transport. Hansen is feeling attacked, as the youths would say. And his defense is ridiculous: a pet dog pollutes more than a seat on a private jet.

That's right. Next time you think to say that flying private is wasteful and polluting, take a look at your life first. If you own a pet, be it a dog or a cat, and especially if said pet happens to be a larger dog breed, you're the worst. You're way worse than those people who can afford to fly private and whom you keep criticizing for it.

Every living being has a carbon footprint, as highlighted by British professor and expert Mike Berners-Lee in the book How Bad Is a Banana?, which Hansen referenced during the summit. According to data analyzed by Berners-Lee, an average-sized pooch like a Labrador will have a carbon footprint of 0.7 tons a year. The bigger the dog, the bigger the footprint, and most of it is due to the pet's diet and how it's produced, transported, and stored.

Kylie Jenner's Jet
Photo: YouTube / Kylie Jenner
With this in mind, Hansen looked at the 67,000 passengers that flew with Luxaviation in 2022, did some math, and came up with 2.1 metric tons per passenger per year, so the equivalent of owning three dogs for that same time period – or owning a single dog for three years. He didn't get into the value derived from owning a dog for three years as opposed to flying one way on a private jet once. He didn't get into the fact that a dog's carbon footprint can only be reduced so little, even with mindful planning, whereas private jet flying can be avoided altogether. He just summed up that dog owners are hypocrites if they do happen to think private jet flying is bad for the planet.

The fact is that private jet flying emits between five to 14 times more pollutants than commercial flights on a per-passenger basis. Another fact is that those who fly private are responsible for quantities of pollutants per year that commercial fliers won't achieve in their lifetime, even if they take regular vacations by plane. Another significant fact is that commercial flights are available for most routes used for private charter, even if they're not as time-convenient and definitely not as fancy.

Think of the many times private jet flying has been in the news these past few years and for all the wrong reasons. The health crisis of 2020 grounded most commercial fleets for months, which led to a surge in private jet charter, which then spun into the current trend of chartering over distances that can easily be covered by car in under 2 hours. The world's rich are hopping on private jets for 15-minute flights because they can, because they don't care about anything beyond their personal comfort, and because they're flexing.

Air Drake x Virgil Abloh
Photo: Instagram / virgilabloh
But Hansen believes that those who criticize should point the finger first at themselves. He concluded his dogs versus private jets analogy by saying that private jets "are not going away because they provide a service of time" to the wealthy. That should have been a good way to start the conversation and a far more appropriate response than picking on people's pets.

Indulgences like private flying are anything from obscene to heartbreaking, depending on how you look at them. But if you're going to give in to them, the least you can do is own it. Fido deserves better than to be dragged into this mess.
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Editor's note: For illustrative purposes, photos in the gallery show some high-flying celebrities.

About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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