Swift Streaks To LAX


In what looked more like a high-level military extraction operation than the travel itinerary of a pop star, Taylor Swift was back in the U.S. a full day ahead of the Super Bowl featuring her boyfriend Travis Kelce. One of the most watched celebrity jet flights ever (at one point 12,000 people were logged into Flightradar24 watching the icon representing the Global 6000 she chartered inch across the Pacific) went off with barely a hitch under scrutiny that seemed to be encouraged by Swift and her team. Celebrity flight tracker Jack Sweeney said on X that the charter company VistaJet told him which aircraft she was on. Flightradar24 labeled the flight The Football Era. Neither VistaJet nor Swift’s team responded to our request for comment.

As with any complex logistical operation, preparations began long in advance. Jason Rabinowitz of AirlineFlyer said on X that VistaJet, clearly not wanting to be responsible for Swift missing the game, stationed a backup business jet at Tokyo Haneda Airport in case the plane she was assigned broke. By all accounts the Global 6000 performed as expected and got Swift from Haneda to LAX in the record territory eight hours and 58 minutes, averaging 532.24 knots. For context, Gulfstream set 25 city pair records last year in a G700 promotional tour and the average speed of a few of those trips was in the 510-knot range.

But it seems even the Customs and Border Protection Service wasn’t taking any chances, either. Photos by javib23r and reposted by Sweeney show multiple vehicles around the aircraft and a dog and handler outside. While Swift and her entourage dashed through the night to the welcome by the CBP, crews on the other side of the Pacific appeared to be getting her Falcon 7X in position to pick her up in Los Angeles for the 40-minute hop over the mountains to Vegas. The Falcon was flown from Nashville to Burbank Airport on Thursday. The trail goes cold there and it’s not clear if she went to Vegas Friday evening or joined the Conga line in Las Vegas on Sunday for the big game.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


  1. As I said on previous threads, no matter what you may think of rich persons, there are hundreds of ground support people whose livelihood is making sure those rich persons get where they want to go. Not that I care about this occurrence, I was curious how Customs would be handled coming back into the US. US Customs is not known to be accommodating to after hours clearances without some political help.

  2. The only way a flight from LAX to LAS is 40 minutes would be if flown in the middle of the night. During normal daylight hours due to terrain and numerous military airspace areas and other routing, that flight will take at least 1 hour!

    • 40 minutes is about the average flight time in a jet. This is flown at altitudes in the mid 20’s, terrain is not an issue and routing almost direct at that altitude. I have flown between the L.A. area and Las Vegas many times.

    • Right? Personally I wish all this chatter about some ‘pop star’ would just go away. I don’t think preteens are reading Avweb.

      • I’ve always geeked out on the logistics for VIP flights… The coordination and all the people on the ground that pull off the coordinated movements of dignitaries or other famous people in motorcades is fascinating.

    • Yes, who cares about those people like, as the others call, “Taylor Swift” and ” Travis Kelce”? I, frankly, never heard about them and don’t really care a s**t also about them or their lifes.

    • Hey Rodger!
      While Taylor Swift fantasies that some freely admit abound around the world, you might think about pushing that turtlehead out of your shell far enough to see that this flight and this celebrity may have just influenced the sale of several corporate Global Express aircraft for Bombardier, especially given Russ’s expert depiction of its comparison to the illustrious “Gulfstream”. BTW, don’t take this hard – turtles fascinate me!

    • Haven’t you? Seriously, this is here for the sake of completeness. It’s unlikely we’ll be doing anything like it again. I actually found it kind of interesting to interact with the trackers and understand the logistics a little better. Maybe not too valuable for you folks but I learned a few things. Back to work….

      • Well alright now … I/we be “complete” … except I don’t even know why she’s famous? :-0 🙂

        Next summer when I go for $200 hamburger runs, however, I have a NEW idea compliments of TS … I’ll send a backup Cessna in case mine breaks 🙂

      • I found the story interesting for a variety of reasons. That the flight may have set a speed record is one. Keep ’em coming Russ.

    • A lot of people, apparently. The last Taylor Swift-related post generated more comments than nearly any other Aviation News post on AVWEB this week as far as I can tell. Normally when nobody cares, you’ll see an empty comment section, but it’s amusing the additional engagement generated by people such as yourself who feel strongly enough about Taylor to scroll through the whole article and post a comment voicing your disinterest.

  3. Russ, I’m so disappointed in you and AVweb for posting this story. It looks like you have cowed down the same level of the general media. I’m so sick and tired of the media coverage of this billionaire and thought this was the last place I’d find anything to do with her. Truly disappointed in AVweb.

    • It’s factual, it’s aviation-related, and it’s topical. Why wouldn’t AV Web cover it?

      If you’re not interested in this kind of thing, just don’t read it. You’re not interested in it, and most of us aren’t interested in the fact that you’re not interested in it.

      • Brian, this is terrible reporting. Nothing was said about what she had for breakfast when they landed, what designer that she was wearing on arrival, or even what was served in-flight to Vegas. Nothing, zip, nada. Russ needs to pick up his game if he wants to report topical factual aviation-related stories. I’m sorry but this was bad reporting all around. 🙂

  4. What happened to music? If it were Floyd, Sabbath, Zeppelin (pun intended)… even Tull I would understand. Who the heck is Swift? I’ll go back to my room now…

      • That’s +1 regarding the music, not for an article about any ‘celebrities’ movements on an aviation website unless it’s to warn of potential airspace issues.

      • I’ll read this trash about those two that I’ve totally unheard until now, to allow me to fight, with all my strength, against the posted news like this one.

    • Go watch her Tiny Desk concert. You may not like her style of music, but she is an actual musician who writes her own music, plays multiple instruments well, and can actually sing on pitch without auto-tune. I don’t listen to her stuff but I was impressed when I watched that video.

  5. I thought it was all interesting!!!! I was sitting in the SWA manager’s office at BNA one day. An underling stepped in the door and said Ricky Skaggs just called and said could we hold his flight for 20 minutes. He was running late. The manager grumbled but said hold the flight.

  6. Here is the real news story from the latest Super Bowl, one that matters: “Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes gave God the glory after winning Super Bowl LVIII Sunday night, saying that the Lord “challenged” his team as it faced adversity all season.” The Christian Post

  7. This flight really shows the capability of General Aviation and how far it has gone. Flying from Japan to California nonstop is a feat in itself. I am sure the plane was big enough that Ms. Swift could get some sleep, food and be comfortable on the trip. A plus no one thinks about is how many people these planes employ. They are a jobs center.

  8. Despite what many are saying here, I wish to compliment Avweb for this story. I am interested in almost any story involving aviation and this one certainly fits. I had been wondering what aircraft had been used and the fact the Global 6000 made the trip in under 9 hours while averaging 532 knots is amazing. We should be happy these VIPs are responsible for the aviation jobs created by this whole process. In fact, if no one used them, it would most likely not even exist.

    As far as dissing Taylor Swift and her money in using these wonderful aircraft, just remember many people see us, pilots and aircraft owners, as spoiled rich playboys flying around showing off our wealth while burning and polluting the air and making too much noise. Around our local airport, there is rarely a year goes by that someone does not complain about the noise and pollution caused by our Cessnas and Pipers. There was even a news article several years ago about how the airport property could be put to better use except for the rich people who kept and flew their airplanes there.

    Think about it, how many times have you told someone that you are a pilot and/or aircraft owner and they returned with “Oh, you must be rich!”

    To many people, we are no different than the flying VIPs, just lower on the food chain.

  9. I like these stories along with the “normal” Avweb coverage. I get to talk to my kids about my love of all things aviation while also discussing something they are interested in. Not sure why people don’t like others who are wealthy and successful – that is a mystery to me.

  10. Well done vistajet and Bombardier… anyone remember the Truculent Turtle? Not quite as quick!
    As for Greta Herringchoker, wait for the next sailboat.

  11. If VistaJet really did tell Jack Seeeney what plane TS was on, it will be a long time before they get hired to charter other celebrities.

    • Hmm. I think it is far more likely that Ms Swift – one of the most succesful businesswomen on the planet – capitalised on the media hype surrounding the flight, and asked VistaJet to comp the whole flight in exchange for the PR. After all, everyone knew she was planning on making the flight, just not sure how. Her team probably contacted multiple long-haul charter operators, and asked them for their best bids. If so – respect!

  12. Hey Russ, thanks for covering the story. Some interesting details here that I hadn’t heard, like the fact that they positioned a backup jet just in case. Smart move by VistaJet.

  13. The same airplane flew her to Tokyo early last week and stayed there until the return. Probably not too many corporate nonstops to Tokyo.
    Landing at LAX not only customs but an airplane change. Her Falcon had been previously positioned to Burbank. Las Vegas required reservations for the Super Bowl and that was probably made for her Falcon.

  14. Just wondering – did AvWeb cover Iron Maiden’s touring flying 757s and a 747 piloted by Bruce Dickinson, the band’s ATP-rated singer? I don’t recall. It was a number of tours, starting about 15 years ago until fairly recently.