The new deal with American represents a shift in attitude toward Direct Connect for HRG. Bill Brindle, the travel management company's director of group distribution and technology, told delegates to the Innovation in Airline Distribution conference in London in March that travel agents don’t want to have to connect directly with a carrier to participate in sales of ancillary products. (See Two Agencies Say 'Thanks, but No Thanks' to Direct Connections, March 10, 2011) But he added that HRG has “great merchandising capabilities” that could benefit both airlines and his company and was eager to sell ancillary products such as lounge access and to enable clients to get the full benefit of their frequent flyer program status. The deal, if it comes to fruition, would be a coup for American, which has met with considerable resistance to its Direct Connect strategy. Get the full story at Travel Market Report