Can we choose the aircraft or vehicles on a medical transport?

If you’re organising a medical transport for a loved one, you probably have a list of key priorities in mind: the likely costs involved, the international hospital they’re heading to, the medical support they’ll receive during the journey.

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In the heat of the moment, it’s hard to think beyond simply getting a patient from A to B – which is completely understandable. But, if you’re using a high-quality international repatriation company, you actually have quite a lot of choice over how they travel.

Here’s what you need to know…

Choosing the mode of transport

When you call a medical transport company, the first question you’ll be asked is what kind of repatriation you need. If your patient is in a critical condition and speed is vital, the answer may be an intensive-care air ambulance. This is a small, fast medical jet that has been purpose-built to deliver emergency medical care in transit.

For anything beyond this type of scenario, however, you have a lot more options to consider:

  • Private jet – you could fly to the destination on a premium plane with a medical support team and equipment (read on for more detail)
  • Medical Escort – you could fly on a regular commercial flight with a qualified medic, or team of medics, to look after your patient’s needs (this is much cheaper than a private medical flight)
  • Road ambulance – you could travel overland with a fully-equipped vehicle and medical support team (again, this is a cheaper option than a private flight)

Choosing the airport connections

If you’re going by air, the next question is how you’d like to travel to and from the connecting airports. EMS Air Ambulance & Medical Repatriation will handle these transfers – and indeed every other part of your patient’s journey from bed to bed – but you can choose the vehicles that take them there. Many families like to opt for a road ambulance with dedicated medical crew. But these transfers can also be done by taxi, private car or even a limousine. In many cases, EMS will arrange the necessary permits for the transport to “go tarmac” – which means the vehicle will drive right up to the steps of the plane for boarding.

Choosing the type of aircraft

Most families and patients (assuming they’re not travelling by the abovementioned road ambulance, Medical Escort or ICU air ambulance) aren’t aware that they actually have a choice over the aircraft that’s used for the flight. EMS uses three different types of jet for medium-care medical journeys: the Embraer Phenom 300, the Bombardier Challenger 350 and the Bombardier Global 6000. Which one you choose really depends on your priorities for the journey and whether you plan to fly with one or two passengers, or your entire family. For instance:

  • Passengers – you can take anywhere from four to eight other people alongside your patient and medical crew
  • Distance – the light-jet Phenom 300 has a four-hour non-stop range while for the long-range Global 6000 it’s up to 13 and a half hours
  • Luggage – the capacity for onboard luggage ranges from 2.09 square metres up to 5.5 square metres, which is roughly equivalent to two small suitcases, two large suitcases and six golf bags
  • Space – the room onboard the jets varies from the Phenom 300’s five-metre-long cabin to the Global 6000’s 14m-long cabin
  • Facilities – the onboard options range from free WIFI and entertainment systems to premium dining, separate lavatories and even private rooms

Need more information about the choices available on repatriations? You might find these in-depth articles helpful:

Contact us

Do you need any help or advice about how medical transports work and what kinds of options you have for the journey? Give our team a call any time, day or night, and we’ll be happy to answer your questions. If you’re looking into pricing and need to know more, hop over to our easy-to-use cost calculator.

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