Found this on another web site and it may answer one of your questions.
There are about 20 questions about bankruptcy here is a part that would be relevant to you.
If United or US Air goes out of business, will other airlines have to honor their tickets?
Yes, but only USA-based airlines flying exactly the same route, and only if space is available. Under the USA Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001, other airlines based in the USA are required to provide transportation to holders of tickets on other USA-based airlines that have ceased operations due to insolvency or bankruptcy, "to the extent practicable", provided that the passenger makes arrangements with another airline within 60 days of the shutdown of the ticketed airline. The Department of Transportation has interpreted this to mean that other USA-based airlines flying the exact same route are required to honor tickets of a USA-based airline that has shut down, on a space-available (standby) basis, for no more than US$25 per person per flight, one-way. (See the full ruling from the Department of Transportation in the case of Vanguard Airlines.)
If you really need to be home at a certain time you could always buy a refundable ticket on another airline and then cash it in if you don't need it.
My advice is stay near a radio/TV and as soon as something happens jump on the phone to the competitors and try and secure a seat, or you could just turn up and at the airport and wait and hope for the best.