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American Airlines launches latest Direct Connect move

American Airlines launches latest Direct Connect move has become the first major online travel agency to sell American Airlines Preferred Seats.

The product is exclusively available to travel agencies through American’s technologically advanced direct connection to its host reservations system.

In recognition of this, American announced it is offering a 25 per cent discount off its normal price for the Preferred Seats optional service, through to August 5th on and began booking tickets through American’s direct connect in January 2011 and is now booking more than 2,000 tickets a day through the channel.

“We support innovation that improves the travel experience for our customers and we appreciate that American is offering this new product at a special discounted rate,” said Mark Koehler,’s senior vice president, air.

The discount offer is also available through mobile, Self-Service Check-In machines and AA Reservations.

Preferred Seats are desirable seats near the front of the Main Cabin and are available for purchase when booking a flight, up until the airport check-in cutoff time, beginning at $4 per flight.

“This offer is a testament to how customers win when American can choose to distribute its product via less expensive and more capable technology,” said Cory Garner, American’s managing director – sales operations and distribution.

The deal is the latest in the American Airlines Direct Connect system, which allows airlines to link directly with travel agents, bypassing global distribution systems and avoiding fees.

Direct Connect also uses XML messaging technology, so carriers can showcase their full product range, including all-important ancillaries.

Direct Connect is an alternative way to market product, but the carrier is still expected to employ global distribution systems.