American Airlines is offering 25% off the charge for ‘preferred seats’ on bookings via US online giant Priceline in a move that bypasses global distribution systems (GDSs).

Priceline contracted to book American fares via the carrier’s Direct Connect link to its reservations system at the beginning of last year, bypassing the GDSs.

The seats, at the front of the main cabin, are only available for booking direct or via agents with a Direct Connect link to American’s reservations system. They cannot be booked via a GDS.

Charges for ‘preferred seats’ range from $4 (£2.60) to $59 (£38) per sector. The offer, launched on Monday and available for a week, applies only to bookings direct with American or with Priceline.

American, the transatlantic partner of British Airways, is embroiled in competing anti-trust lawsuits in the US with GDS groups Travelport and Sabre.

The carrier’s sales and distribution director, Cory Garner, said: “This offer is testament to how customers win when American can choose to distribute its product via less expensive and more capable technology.” senior vice-president for air Mark Koehler said: “We support innovation that improves the travel experience for customers and appreciate that American is offering this product at a special discounted rate.”