For months, American Airlines flights have been filtered from search results on Expedia and Hotwire due to a longstanding dispute over fees. American demanded to bypass central airline reservation systems and deliver the information to users directly, not only to save money, but also to have the ability to customize the booking process with add-ons like preferred seating, mileage accelerators, and prepaid checked baggage that is currently only available when booking directly through AA.
Under the new agreement, Expedia will continue to use the existing global distribution system (GDS) technology that is in place now, but will soon switch over to American’s "direct connect" technology, which oddly, will be powered by aggregation technology created by a GDS. I find that odd because GDSs make their money by charging airlines when reservations are booked through their system. Is a GDS really setting up technology that will rob it of its primary source of revenue?
That question will have to be answered later, but for now, you can book AA flights on Expedia again. With the new Expedia Rewards program recently unveiled, this is good news for the savvy consumer.