Check your bags downtown before you fly

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What do Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Moscow , and Vienna have in common?

Each city offers train service between its international airport and one of its major downtown train stations, and each city offers check-in at its train station.

The best part of Vienna's City Airport Train is its check-in service at the Wein Mitte train station downtown. On the last night of a recent visit to Vienna, I went to the train station, checked-in for my flight, confirmed my seat assignment, and dropped off my luggage. For the rest of the night, I was carefree.

My morning trip to the airport was a breeze. I didn't need to worry about hauling my bag around a subway system during the rush hour. Once I arrived at the airport, I saw people standing in a line to check-in, and the line looked like it would take about 30 minutes to snake through. I smiled to myself that I had stood in line for less than five minutes the night before.

Here are the details:

Vienna's city airport train charges about $20 each for round-trip tickets purchased online at the website CityAirportTrain.com. There's a catch, of course: The service only works for passengers flying on a narrow list of airlines. Among the airlines included: Austrian, United, and US Airways.

To learn which airlines in Hong Kong offer city check-in, click here.

For Kuala Lumpur info, click here.

For Moscow's service, click here. In winter 2004, Vienna became the first city to offer airport check-in at a train station, according to the Austrian agency that operates the service. I'm glad to see the service is spreading elsewhere.

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