American CEO's blue-sky idea: Travel agents pay us

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GerardArpeyAmerican Airlines CEO Gerard Arpey has a dream: getting travel agents to pay American for selling its tickets.

In a conference call discussing the airline's earnings report, Arpey was asked by UBS analyst Kevin Crissey, "What kind of distribution cost savings might there be out there?"

Arpey responded that he hoped to push those costs down, and maybe even reverse the flow.

"We're still paying much higher levels of commission and booking fees, and a lot that hinges on the use of technology and the competitive environment, because a lot of those commissions or overrides or booking fees are paid in order to stimulate traffic," he said. "If we can, as an industry, do a better job keeping the supply of seats in line with the demand, then that will help us on those fronts.

"I can see a day, and maybe I’m dreaming here, where those folks who are the intermediary between us and our customer have to pay for access to our product rather than us paying them to distribute our product," he added.

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