Here's what you're owed if you are involuntarily bumped from a flight.
- If you reach your destination between one and two hours after the original flight was scheduled to land (two and four hours on an international flight), you get cash compensation equal to 200 percent of the ticket price with a maximum of $650, plus a refund on the purchased ticket.
- If you're rebooked and land more than two hours after the scheduled arrival time (four hours on an international flight), you get cash compensation equal to 400 percent of the ticket price with a maximum of $1,300, plus a refund on the purchased ticket.
Those are the regulations, but airlines can and sometimes do voluntarily offer more. On the other end of the spectrum, those amounts don't apply if your rebooked flight lands within an hour of the original arrival time, if you don't comply with check-in or reconfirmation procedures, if your plane is swapped for a smaller plane or if there are safety-related weight issues on a plane with fewer than 61 seats.
If you're willing to miss your flight, volunteering for a fraction of the larger amount guarantees you get paid. However, if you wait it out to get more money, you could wind up with a solid influx of cash. The worst case scenario is you don't get the money and wind up where you wanted to go when you wanted to get there. Win win.