I have been told by those who fly UNITED that you can ask at check-in to be put on the list and all the way along your route if they need you on any of your segments they will have you on the BUMP list.
With DELTA it is not that E-Z. In fact, boarding organization is not one of DELTA’s strong suits. But paying you for bumps is very nice most of the time. Regionals pour out $400 vouchers like water I have found. Mainline jets can play around with the price but $300-400 is the norm. On international $800 and up is what you can expect (yes I know about the new rules this year for bumps, but we are NOT talking involuntary bumps but volunteering). Suspended Travel FAQs at DELTA website
I have had flights were I volunteered at check-in on a regional jet, then the same agent later runs the desk, the flight is oversold, and they take some else who just walks up when I had asked before anyone at check-in!
So, if you want to BUMP, tell everyone along the way. At check-in and at the gate. One tip I can share is that you print TWO copies of your boarding pass for each flight. Then, just tell the gate agent to HOLD ON to your pass just in case they need you (after all you have your extra one).
Also never ever trust the DELTA seat map as a check to see if the flight is really oversold (I missed out on a $2000 bump for an oversold international flight sitting up in the SKYCLUB looking at delta.com seatmap). Until the agents are working the flight, you can not be completely sure of the real numbers. As blogged about before, when you do give up your seat, work it for the best flights, seats, and maybe more vouchers when you have to stay overnight.
On a side note, and I am in NO WAY suggesting you invest in DELTA stock (I sure am not) this article does tend to show our DELTA flights will be more and more full over the short term and give us more chances to bumps!
Happy “bumportunities” – René