Senator Bill Nelson said airlines are getting out of control with sky high fees.
Nelson, D-Florida, said despite fuel prices going down, the cost for passengers to fly continues to soar. That's why Nelson commissioned a study through his office.
The results? The airline industry collected more than $38 billion in fees above and beyond ticket prices in 2014.
The fees are for everything from changing your itinerary to carrying luggage on-board. The profits, he said, are so high it's prompting an investigation of the commercial flight industry.
The report found that in some cases, there was no connection between the price of the fees and the costs incurred by the airlines that impose them.
"The fact that they are charging for checked baggage but also for carry-on baggage, and the charge on the bag is not proportionate to the charge of the ticket," Nelson said.
The report surveyed five airlines: United, Delta, American, Hawaiian and Spirit. Staff said when it came to finding costs for changing or cancelling flights on the United Airlines website, they had to click through several pages before finding something that said the feeds can range from "$0 to $1,000 per person, based on applicable fare rules."
Airlines are also using preferred seating as a new source of revenue.
"In these instances, consumers face confusion as to whether they are required to pay an additional fee for a seat, and do not realize that if they do not, they will still be assigned a free seat at a later time," the report said. It recommends that airlines should have to provide clear disclosures that "preferred seat" charges are optional.
The Senator will be taking his concerns and a recently published report to the secretary of transportation. And because it seems so many airlines are involved with the practice, there are even more serious concerns.
"Anti-trust. Coordinating with each other," Nelson said. "You are not allowed to do that with the anti-trust laws. So as I ask the secretary of transportation, that's one of the things I want him to look at."
Nelson said he is not calling for a cap on fees, just more disclosure to passengers for fees like seat changes or seat assignments and baggage charges. He believes some fees should simply be eliminated because they are excessive.