Can other passengers travel on a medical repatriation?

If you’re looking into medical transports for a friend or relative, you probably have a lot of questions about how it all works. How experienced are the repatriation companies you’re considering? How soon can they reach your patient? How quickly – and safely – can they get them home?

Can other passengers travel on a medical repatriation?

Another important question is whether you or a family member can actually accompany your patient on the transport itself. Maybe you’re with them right now and don’t want to leave their side. Maybe you’re planning to fly out to join them so you can support them on the way home…

Is that actually possible on a medical transport?

1. It’s almost always possible to take ONE passenger

The good news is that we can nearly always take a passenger on the journey with us. An EMS repatriation is a complete 'bed-to-bed' service, which means you’ll travel with your patient on all the flights, airport transfers and road connections to and from the airports – whether they’re conscious or unconscious, sitting in a wheelchair or lying back on a stretcher bed. In fact we encourage relatives to travel with us when possible, because it provides reassurance for the patient – which is especially important if they are a child or baby. The only times we can’t take an extra passenger are when a patient with COVID needs to be transported in full isolation, or when there are very specific medical reasons why it would be safer to fly without other passengers.

2. It’s often possible to take MORE THAN ONE passenger

Although intensive-care air ambulances and road ambulances usually have room for only one passenger, “medium-care” air ambulances are much less restricted in terms of space. (Medium-care is the stage between general hospital ward and ICU; most of our transports fall into this category.) We use three types of private jet for these flights. Light and mid-size jets can take up to four passengers, alongside your patient and medical crew. Our long-range jets can take up to eight passengers. On the biggest jets, there’s even space for a separate private room. Keep in mind that you can also take 20kg of hand luggage per passenger, whichever transport you’re using.

3. Whoever travels, we’ll be there for your patient

With the best will in the world,accompanying a sick relative on a medical flight isn’t always possible. They may be thousands of miles away. COVID-related travel restrictions might make it impossible for you to join them. Or perhaps speed is the highest priority and you simply need to get your loved one abroad for treatment as soon as possible. Whatever happens, our medical crew will be on hand at every point to look after them. Once we have the green light to proceed, we can get a doctor or paramedic to your patient’s bedside within 24-48 hours, wherever they are in the world. We’ll liaise with the local doctors and make sure your patient is fit to fly. We’ll keep you updated throughout the journey, and let you know when we’re nearing the final destination.

Getting a relative home: a case in point

If you can’t be with your loved one on the journey, getting a steady flow of information and support from your repatriation company is really important. This was something that one of our recent customers from the UK found when she had to repatriate her brother from Spain.

“My brother had been affected [with] diabetes while in Spain and needed to return quickly to the UK after an amputation but could not fly,” explains Jacqueline, writing on our Google Review page.

“The moment I contacted EMS Air Ambulance & Medical Repatriation, their service and attention to detail was impeccable, and whilst I was in England organising the road ambulance and their office is based in the Netherlands, they kept me informed every step of the way[...]

“They were so helpful and arranged his safe travel and arrival back in the UK within 5 days from my initial phone call. [The EMS repatriation expert] kept me sane throughout what was a traumatic experience [when I was] miles away and unable to travel with him.”

Further reading

Wondering how to pack for a medical transport? See “Air and road ambulance FAQ: what clothes should you wear for the journey?

Contact us

Are you looking to fly a friend or family member back home for medical treatment? You can call or contact the EMS team any time and we’ll do our very best to help with recommendations and advice. If you’re looking into pricing and would like an estimate for the journey, just hop over to our easy-to-use cost calculator and input your details. Whatever you need, we’re here to help.

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