United Airlines has gotten some of the worst press of any company in the past year, starting with when they dragged that old guy off a plane and most recently when they killed a woman's dog by forcing it into the overhead compartment.
Allison Preiss was on an overbooked United flight from Washington D.C. to Austin, Texas, and they asked for volunteers to give up their seats. No one did so Allison got bumped because she'd paid the lowest fare.
And as she sat there arguing with the gate agents, one of them offered her a $10,000 VOUCHER and a seat on the next flight to Austin as compensation. She took the deal. Wouldn’t you?!
Reality is I try to build in extra travel time as much as possible so I can score vouchers for being flexible (sometimes approaching them when I first arrive at the gate to be proactive). Generally airlines only offer up to $500 per passenger and ticket. This lady got lucky!