Be sure to ask for an upgrade on the flight you are bumped to.

You stand a good chance of being bumped on the first Saturday of spring break to Hawaii and Washington D.C. Also the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

Ask if the flight is overbooked.

View flight schedules for other airlines.

Arrive 90 minutes before scheduled departure.

Before agreeing to bumping, make certain the airline is offering free ticket or fat comps.

Get confirmed reservations on the next flight. Minimal: get a guaranteed flight on another airline.

If your wait for another flight exceeds two hours, inquire about meal vouchers.

If you get bumped from the next flight, repeat... A second free ticket in one day could happen


Delta, USAir: Open roundtrip
(Delta requires reservations three days before flight time on
bump tickets.)

United: Travel voucher in increments of $100 based on time to 
wait for next flight (e.g., 2 hour wait is $200), up to
a maximum of $300. Food voucher.

Continental: US domestic roundtrip ticket.  Offers a
dollar amount in credit to be used towards any Continental
flight (e.g., $300).

American, America West, Southwest, Northwest: $$ off another
ticket (@ $150 to $300; Northwest generally around $300;
American high,  $1000.)
Dollar-denominated vouchers are not subject to tax...  United sometimes will also issue a
dollar-denominated voucher. 

Air Canada offers $150 cash or $300 in travel vouchers.

United bumps more than average, Delta less.