Then you should remember BA Flight 268 in 2005, a 747 flight from KLAX to EGLL, on takeoff lost an engine, and decided to continue to EGLL, they ended up declaring an emergency and landed at Manchester, thinking they had insufficient fuel. ATC initially expected them to return to LAX. The FAA accused BA of flying an unairworthy aircraft over the ocean, and was going to fine the airline, but dropped the case, when BA agreed to change their procedures. Flying on 3 engines is one thing over land, where if something else goes wrong, they can get down in a hurry. Doing it over the ocean with 300 to 400 souls on board in the case of a 747 and more on an A380, is an unnecessary and unwarranted risk! IMHO.
I don't think you'l' have to worry about that, they'll hold on to those devices with dear life, so when they are suppose to evacuate, they'll be blocking the aisles taking pictures and video of the emergency, so they can post to youtube!!
Obviously he had enough instruments left that he was able to put the plane into a descent, to get below the clouds and make it safely back to the airport. So the plane was still flyable. In fact the time it took to deploy the chute and it's failure, added to the danger in this case.
This is really a smart move on their part.These toll free lines cost the company money for a service that really isn't necessary anymore. Most land line service today include unlimited domestic long distance service. So it doesn't matter if the call is toll free or not. It's not costing the customer anything extra.
Your only hearing one side of the story, I don't believe the pilot would have diverted for just this. There must of been something else that happened, that he/she felt presented a potentialy dangerous situation on board.
Good to hear a happy ending to an airline story, we don't hear many!! Just to give proper credit which this story seems to omit. The airline for the connecting flight had to be ExpressJet (UA's regional) as UNITED itself does not fly to KLBB from KHOU. So it was there pilot that ultimately held the plane. Great job and good coordination from both ends Hear hear!!