Report: Airlines collected record $7 billion in baggage fees, flight changes

Darcie Antrim knows her way around an airport. She's a frequent flier and a savvy one, too.

"I travel a lot so I try to always do everything carry on, but I have status with American, so I always get a free bag," she said.

Saving money is key for most people who fly, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

"I think I should have a carry on, but I got a cheap ticket and I had to pay for it," she said.

It seems you can't carry on if you pay economy, and that's paying off for airlines.

A report just released by the Government Accountability Office says major carriers made $7.1 billion in fees, compared to $6.3 million in 2010.

The profit is said to be a direct result of fees passengers pay to check bags and make flight changes, but in turn, they say offer cheaper seats.

"I just had to pay $50 and my ticket for all three of us, was still $300," one traveler said. "That's not cheap."

Consumers like Antrim aren't happy and neither are consumer advocates that say the growing fees make it tougher to compare prices, even as airlines say the fees cover choices that are part of the competition between carriers.