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American, Priceline.com Launch Preferred Seats Sale

American Airlines is offering a discount on preferred seats now through Sunday, August 5. Preferred seats are located at the front of American's economy class cabin — often the best window and aisle seats — and can be reserved for an additional fee beyond the basic airfare.

American Airlines
AP
American Airlines

The sale is available on American's website, as well as on Priceline.com — the first online travel agency with the ability to sell such seats to consumers directly. A discount of 25 percent is being offered for the preferred seats, excluding basic airfare.

Premium and full-fare customers still have complimentary access to preferred seats, as well as those with elite frequent flier status on American or Alaska Airlines .

The sale allows American to highlight their drive to get more travel agencies — both online agencies like Priceline.com and brick and mortar ones — to use American's direct connection to its reservations system, instead of a competing reservations system.

American realizes a significant cost savings, when third-party bookings are processed directly with American versus another reservations system. This, in fact, applies to all airlines, but American is aggressively promoting their direct connection capabilities. And access to selling preferred seats is a perk for agencies using American's technology.

"This offer is a testament to how customers win when American can choose to distribute its product via less expensive and more capable technology," says Cory Garner, American's managing director of sales operations and distribution, in a press release.

"Starting at" prices tend to bother me as they're always the low-ball amount for a short flight, so I priced out a hypothetical one-way from Los Angeles to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport to get a better idea of the rates.

A seat assignment in the preferred seat zone on the flight I selected normally prices out to $27.99, excluding basic airfare. But I was indeed offered a 25 percent discount and would only have to pay $20.99 if I reserved the selection. Other seats further back in the cabin were still available to be assigned for free.

For more information about American's Preferred Seats, click here.

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