The last few flights that I’ve taken, including the one to Jacksonville that I’ll be on in a few hours, I’ve taken advantage of the airlines’ web check-in. All of them are pretty much the same: I login to the airlines website, or use the locator/confirmation number on my reservation to call it up if I don’t have a login with that airline, go through the check-in process, change my seat assignment if I wish, and print my boarding pass. Then, at the airport, I usually just go to a fast line to drop my luggage (if any) and on to security.
The best part of doing this over the web, rather than at a kiosk at the airport, is that I can use Seat Guru (or the mobile edition on my Blackberry if necessary) to find the best seats available. Most reservations these days list the type of aircraft that is on each leg of the route, and Seat Guru allows me to select the airline, then the particular aircraft type to see a seating plan with the best and worst seats, plus the ones to be wary of (such as those in the row ahead of a window exit that don’t fully recline).
Back in the bad old days of Bubble 1.0, I had elite status on a couple of airlines and didn’t have to worry about such things, since I’d often get bumped to business class. These days, however, web check-in and Seat Guru are my friends.