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Returning from Europe to the US do you check in online?

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I just was reading responses to Irock5's downgrade on Air France post. Does everyone who is returning to the US check in online and print a boarding pass ahead of time? With our twice a year European trips this is something we have never done but maybe should. I got the impression that checking in 24 hours ahead may very well insure your original seat selection.

Since we have to have our passports examined by a person at the check in counter when we check our bags we just assumed it was not really necessary. Also it is not very easy for us to print out our boarding passes while in Europe......but could be done with effort.

I am just expecting the airlines to come up with a new way to charge more $$ by adding on an extra fee to select a seat ahead of check in. Last trip to Portugal we got special fares on TAP on a new route they started out of Miami to Lisbon and we were told that fare did not allow for advance seat selection. We got to the airport way ahead of flight time to get better seats to find there were whole rows unoccupied and each could stretch out....almost unheard of these days of full planes.

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