Heading abroad for treatment? 4 occasions when an air ambulance plane is your best option

Heading abroad for treatment

Heading abroad for treatment? 4 occasions when an air ambulance plane is your best option

If you need to organise a medical evacuation for a colleague or loved one, you may know there are several different options available:

A) Travel by road ambulance – you do the whole journey in a private medical vehicle (even across borders)

B) Travel with a medical escort – your patient flies on a regular commercial flight, accompanied by an advanced paramedic (or team of medics) with equipment and medicines

But there is a third option. And that’s to fly out on an air ambulance plane – a private medical aircraft that has been specially reconfigured for transporting and treating patients in safety and comfort. So when is an air ambulance a good, or perhaps even the best, option for evacuating or repatriating a patient? Here are four situations where it’s worth considering:

1. When speed is important

A private jet is almost always the quickest way to get someone to a foreign hospital for treatment. There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, it’s essentially your own personal charter flight, with only one destination in mind: the home, hospital or clinic you need to get to. It’s not dependent on ticket availability, commercial flight schedules or third-party booking agents. Once you agree a quote with us, we reserve the plane at the nearest available airport and create the most direct flight plan. Secondly, the boarding process is much faster. EMS Air Ambulance & Medical Repatriation handles all the transfers and customs clearances. A road ambulance takes you right up to the doors of the jet ambulance for boarding (we call it “going tarmac”). On arrival, a medical team will be ready and waiting to collect you from the plane for your onward journey.

2. When cost isn’t the biggest factor

Emergency situations aren’t the only reason you might choose to go by air ambulance plane. It’s perfectly possible to use them to travel for non-urgent treatments too – perhaps an appointment for a long-term cancer treatment, for example, or in preparation for a scheduled heart operation in a private hospital abroad. Clearly, travelling on a private flight is significantly more costly than going by road or commercial airline (although often less expensive than people imagine). But if price isn’t your most important consideration – and convenience is a higher priority – it could be the better option.

3. When you’re travelling a long way

The average journey by EMS road ambulance is around 1,500 to 2,500km (although on rare occasions we’ve been known to travel more than 4,000km for a road repatriation). But of course traffic and fuel stops can stretch the trip time and, apart from short ferry crossings, most of the route has to be covered over land. Medical transport planes aren’t limited by terrain or borders. We can charter them from one country collection-point to almost anywhere else in the world – from our new base in Afghanistan, for example, to India, Pakistan or the United States (with a visa-on-arrival (VOA) if necessary). Or from our Gulf Region headquarters in Dubai to medical centres across Europe.

4. When you can’t fly back on a regular flight

There are also times when flying out on a commercial aeroplane just isn’t possible. This might be because the patient’s medical condition is extremely serious and they need minute-by-minute care with ICU facilities, or life support with oxygen and a ventilator. Or perhaps they’re in a stable condition but doctors feel that travelling on a regular plane would be too risky – this was a situation that one of our customers faced recently when his mother needed to travel from Dubai to Burghausen in Germany for breast cancer treatment. Jet ambulances don’t have the same restrictions that apply to airlines and other transportations. The ambulance planes we use are fitted with state-of-the-art medical equipment, intensive care facilities and medicines. A team of highly trained paramedics and doctors can treat and operate on them in-flight if necessary. Because the whole flight is focused on a single person, we can also tailor the journey around whatever specialist care they might need. This includes treatment for COVID-positive patients who need to travel in full isolation, or for child patients who need to travel with a paediatric doctor.

Contact us

If you’re thinking about evacuating someone to another country for treatment, please get in touch with us today. We’ll be really happy to explore the potential options with you. You can call us on +44 20 3514 679 – or send us an email or a message on WhatsApp. For pricing, please check out our online calculator or fill out a quick form for a free, no-obligation quote.

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