Celebrities, air travel, and social norms

Nov 2019
Annals of Tourism Research, vol 79


  • Discusses moral and social norms presented by Fridays for Future
  • Distinguishes four celebrity types in relation to their positions on climate change
  • Shows that celebrities live highly carbon-intense aeromobile lifestyles
  • Discusses the implications of celebrity type agency in relation to norms regarding air travel

The year 2018 saw the rise of a new global youth movement, Fridays for Future. The organization underlines the importance of personal accountability for greenhouse gas emissions, specifically in the context of air travel. This position is in stark contrast to views associating aeromobility with status. Celebrities in particular maintain personal brands based on frequent flying. This paper assesses the aeromobilities of celebrities, for which it develops a netnography-based methodology that tracks spatial movement on the basis of social media posts. Data is analyzed to determine travel patterns, distances flown, and fuel consumed. Findings are discussed in terms of the energy-intensity of celebrity lifestyles and the struggle over moral and social norms regarding personal accountability for contributions to climate change.