My vote would be to keep the 24 hour online checkin window but rather than assign A-B-C, allow the number of people that would make up the A and B groups to pick seats. The remaining folks (the C group) would just fill-in the empty seats when they board.
P.S. - LUV the attitude, LUV the service, LUV the people and LUV the airline. Thanks for many past and future happy flights.
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