Calls for airlines to slap a surcharge on overweight passengers have fallen flat, with Australian air carriers rejecting the idea.
Former Qantas chief economist Tony Webber has stirred the pot by suggesting heavy people should pay more to fly in the same way passengers pay extra for excess baggage.
His premise is that planes will need to burn more fuel to account for Australia's growing waistlines, and overweight people should foot the bill.But Australian carriers have issued a resounding "no" on the matter.
Tiger Airway's spokeswoman Vanessa Regan was blunt when asked if the carrier would ever consider the measure. "In short, no," she said.
Virgin also poured on the cold water. "Such a notion is not under consideration at our airline," its spokesman Colin Lippiatt said.
Qantas followed suit. "Qantas currently has no plans to introduce a surcharge nor does it have a policy in place for customers of size."
A spokesperson for regional air carrier Rex said weight was always a consideration due to the smaller nature of their aircraft, but more in terms of luggage allowances than the passengers themselves.
"It is true that weight is a consideration on our aircraft, because of the type of aircraft it is," the spokesperson said. "We are quite strict with our luggage limits."(But) passengers have priority over baggage always."
Mr Webber said airlines needed to address the issue of passengers' weight.
An airline sending an A380 from Sydney to London three times daily would fork out $1 million per year to compensate the cost of carrying two extra kilograms per person.
"If the passengers on the aircraft weigh more, the aircraft consumes more fuel and the airline's costs go up," he wrote in an online column for Fairfax publications. "The burden of these higher fees should not be lumbered on those who are shedding a few kilos or keeping their weight stable."
The idea of a "weight tax" was bound to be controversial, but not altogether unfeasible.
Air France and KLM proposed in 2010 to force larger passengers to pay for not just one seat but also 75 per cent of the cost of a second as well.