If you’re flying in the US, always check-in online as soon as you can.
Here are the reasons why:
- For Southwest, you can get a better seat and avoid boarding towards the end of the plane.
- For most carriers, you can pick an Exit row seat which is reserved for same day check-in if you don’t have status.
- As I have recently experienced on (ghetto) Delta, they actually give up your seat if you do not check-in 31 minutes before the actual flight. Delta is actually treating their Medallion Gold members this way, image when you do not have status.
Most airlines also have mobile sites that allows you to check-in via your phone. However most do not work too well. I actually tried to check-in via ghetto Delta’s online site and it failed me. The recent experience will definitely prompt a letter to management,