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Airlines are finally broadening the distribution of ancillaries and other specialized fare products. Business travelers who want to stretch their legs are the immediate beneficiaries.

The importance of preferred seating and other ancillaries to business travelers is well known, and the online booking sites with the ability to offer these products for their customers will gain an edge on competitors.

Fareportal will now provide United’s Economy Plus seating product through its CheapOair and OneTravel consumer booking sites, making it the first online travel agency to do so.

“One of the ways United is working on becoming the airline of choice is by providing relevant content in the channels where customers shop,” said Jake Cefolia, United’s vice president of sales in the Americas, in a statement. “Fareportal and United are working together to help make the entire travel experience convenient, comfortable and friendly.”

Fareportal signed a similar deal with American Airlines shortly after the airline’s merger went through in 2014.

In another first, American Airlines has moved to allow travel agents to book its ancillary products. Sabre now lets agents book American Airlines’ American Airlines Preferred and Main Cabin Extra Seats seats. Sabre is now the first global distribution system provider to offer the capability.

“American Airlines customers love Main Cabin Extra and Preferred Seats, and we’re excited to have a new way to offer those seats to them through Sabre,” said Cory Garner, managing director for distribution for American Airlines. “This new capability of Sabre moves us closer to our longtime goal of offering our products through as many channels as possible.”

The deal between American Airlines and Sabre is the first time either company has used New Distribution Capability standards for selling ancillaries.

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Tags: american airlines, cheapoair, gds, sabre, united airlines

Photo credit: United's Economy Plus cabin. United Airlines

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