American Airlines has new cheap travel deal

Flights as low as $4

Headline Goes Here Derek Davis/CNN

FORT WORTH, Texas - A Texas-based airline is offering a deal -- flights with preferred seats that cost less than a cup of coffee.

American Airlines said Monday that it will begin selling a preferred-seating option on discount travel website

The option, called Preferred Seats, lets a traveler reserve a seat near the front of the economy cabin for an extra fee, which starts at $4 per flight.

American said Priceline would be the first major online travel agency to sell the option, and the airline said it will offer a 25 percent discount on the fee through Sunday.

American sells the seating option on its website and reservations centers.

In January 2011, Priceline began using a direct connection to American for flight and pricing information that is usually provided to travel agents by middlemen called global distribution systems. American said Priceline uses that connection to book more than 2,000 tickets a day.

Federal regulators are considering a rule, backed by consumer groups, which would require airlines to give information about extra fees to distribution systems. Consumer advocates say when airline don't provide that information, it makes comparing prices more difficult.

The U.S. airline industry counters that two distribution system companies, Sabre and Travelport, are trying to maintain their dominance and charge airlines high fees to distribute their information, which drives up airfares.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.