A few weeks ago, when my friend Elizabeth and I decided to spend a couple of days in New Orleans together, I went online to book my flights. Normally I'd use either Kayak or an airline site, but I decided to give the American Express travel site a try, since it would mean more membership miles in my account (and I'm saving them up in hopes of upgrading my trip to Dubrovnik in the spring).
I'm a pretty experienced travel booker, but I was a little sleepy when I made my plans, and when I saw an itinerary that involved leaving New Orleans at 7pm and getting into Rochester at 11:30, that looked perfect. So I booked it.
Unfortunately, it turned out that I didn't look closely enough, and the itinerary has me arriving at 9pm in Atlanta, but leaving at 9am tomorrow and arriving at 11:30am. Seriously, Amex? You couldn't have made that clearer in your interface? Delta doesn't even offer that itinerary as an option on their site. And every decent travel booking site I've ever used has made it very clear that an itinerary involves an overnight.
Okay, I thought, at least Delta has a same-day travel change service that only costs $50, so I'll call the day I leave and see if I can get on an earlier flight. But no. When I called Delta today to inquire about doing that, they said I couldn't, because the overnight layover means only the Atlanta leg would be "same-day." If I want to change my flights, it would cost me about $500 in change fees and fare differentials.
So it seems I'll be staying in an Atlanta airport hotel tonight. And you can bet I won't be booking it through the Amex travel site.
Update: It's actually a double-fail, because in addition to not warning me about the overnight, somehow Amex failed to actually get me seat assignments. I distinctly remember picking seats when I booked the flight, but when I went to check in online just now I was told my seat would be assigned at the gate--which happend flying into New Orleans, as well. Bah.