American Airlines has expanded and renamed its 'Express Seats' offering, calling them 'Preferred Seats' and making them available to all its customers 24 hours prior to departure.

The Preferred Seats are available through all of American's direct booking channels including its web site, mobile phone web site, self-service check-in machines, phone reservations, and via travel agencies with a 'direct connect' link to American's fares and schedules.

American has been pushing a direct connect model that would allow travel agents to bypass global distribution systems (GDS) and access inventory directly from the carrier.

The airline said Preferred Seats provide customers the option to select and reserve more desirable seats, with prices beginning at $4 per segment and varying based on length of flight and time of day. The seats are also now complimentary for 'Elite' and full-fare customers and their companion travellers on the same reservation.

"Elite and full-fare customers will also continue to have exclusive access to certain more desirable seats, including toward the front of the plane, available 331 days in advance," said American in a statement. "These seats are now called Preferred Plus Seats."

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news