Why 'Home Alone' Would Only Last 14 Minutes If It Took Place in 2017

Macaulay Culkin Home Alone film
Photo: AF archive / Alamy

There’s no way to ruin a holiday classic like adding technology.

“Home Alone,” for example, would last all of 14 minutes if it took place today.

First of all: Somebody’s iPhone alarm would wake the family up (regardless of a power outage), thus ensuring that the McCallisters would have enough time to get all their children in the Airport Express shuttle.

But say the iPhone alarm was on silent and they still slept in. Since “Home Alone” was released in 1990, new aviation rules and regulations added since then mean that someone would definitely notice Kevin was missing before the plane was at 40,000 feet — and, even if not, Mrs. McCallister would have a much easier time getting back to Chicago.

During the spilled milk debacle of the opening scene, Mr. McCallister throws one of the tickets (presumably Kevin’s) into the trash can. Today, that boarding pass would likely be digitized and, upon scanning, Mr. McCallister (or a security agent) would realize that he had one more ticket than child — at which point he would (presumably) realize that Kevin was still at home.

Home Alone film airport airplane Macaulay Culkin Catherine O'Hara
AF archive / Alamy

When the McCallister family runs through the airport and arrives at their gate, the agent allows them to board before closing the door. “Seats in coach, take whatever’s free,” she says as the family rushes out onto the jet bridge. But not in 2017. Each child would have an assigned seat and, upon seeing that seat empty, cabin staff would notice a person was missing.

If the McCallister family had checked bags (which, for a Christmas flight to Paris, they likely would), airline staff would see that Kevin McCallister’s bag was checked but Kevin McCallister was not on the plane. Staff would likely call for Kevin McCallister, at which point, a McCallister parent would probably realize that they had left their son at home.

And even if standard operating procedure went horribly, horribly awry and the McCallisters left without Kevin, they would be able to contact him via in-flight Wi-Fi. But if they landed in Paris and were still unable to get in touch with Kevin or the neighbors (again, a very unlikely scenario with cell phones), the process of getting Mrs. McCallister back to Chicago would likely go very different.

When she was attempting to get a flight back to Chicago, the airline employee told Mrs. McCallister that she might be able to get something “on standby.” Today, “standby” flying is generally just used to mean when a passenger misses their original flight and waits around for a seat to open up on the next one. Mrs. McCallister would likely have to pay a change fee in order to leave Paris early and get back to Chicago. The film shows the McCallister family flying American Airlines. According to the airline’s website, that fee could be up to $750.

Macaulay Culkin Home Alone film
AF archive / Alamy

And in 2017, Mrs. McCallister would never take a roundabout route (from Paris to Dallas to Scranton) only to find out that there weren’t flights available on her last leg to Chicago. Airline employees would be able to check seat availability and book flights all the way through to her final destination.

Also: Kevin would never perform his post-shower routine to “White Christmas” by The Drifters. 2017 is all a Pentatonix Christmas all the way.

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