If a flight is delayed overnight due to something within the airline's control, the airline typically books a hotel for the guest. Under other circumstances, an airline may issue a distressed passenger voucher for a discounted hotel rate.
Unless a passenger is bumped from an overbooked flight, airlines in the United States are not legally required to compensate customers and book hotel rooms for their guests. When a passenger is delayed mid-journey or leaving the destination city, the airline usually attempts to make a hotel reservation. Unscheduled flight diversions also follow this same rule. When a passenger departs from a local airport, the airline does not usually book a hotel room, because the passenger can return home. In cases of inclement weather when many passengers are delayed, the airline is not able to book hotel rooms for most passengers. Due to the lack of legal obligation, exact policies vary by airline.
If a passenger is delayed overnight due to being bumped from a flight, the passenger is entitled to monetary compensation, which sometimes includes a hotel room, food and beverage expenses. Before making a hotel reservation, the airline usually tries to book the passenger on another flight. For shorter delays usually under four hours, an airline may offer vouchers for food and beverage.