The top 5 questions about air ambulance flights

What do you think of when you hear the words “air ambulance”?

If you’re like most people, you probably have a rough idea – but maybe not much more than that.

The top 5 questions about air ambulance flights

A medical transport, by its nature, tends to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. So most people are in the dark when it comes to organising a repatriation of their own. And, naturally, they have a lot of important questions about how everything works.

We asked the EMS Air Ambulance & Medical Repatriation logistics team – who field several thousand enquiries a year – to tell us what kinds of questions come up more than any others. Here are their answers…

1. "What is an air ambulance?!"

This is a really good question! In basic terms, an air ambulance is a private jet that can provide medical care to a patient during transit. But there are several different types:

Intensive-care air ambulances – these smaller planes are like mobile ICUs. They’re fitted with advanced equipment, usually involve a doctor and paramedic flying with the patient, and can provide emergency surgery and treatment in flight if it’s needed

Medium-care air ambulances – non-emergency flights (the most common kind of medical transport) can travel on a specially-adapted private jet. EMS offers three different kinds: short-haul, midsize, and long-range. Onboard facilities range from premium catering to inflight entertainment systems

Keep reading… the EMS air ambulance page

2. "Can you take passengers?"

Loved ones and friends can almost always travel on an air ambulance flight. How many passengers depends on the type of aircraft we’re using for the transport. Intensive-care flights can take one passenger. Medium-care flights by private jet can take four passengers alongside the medical team – and even up to eight if you’re flying on the Bombardier GLOBAL 6000 plane, our premium option for long-range medical transports (up to around 13 hours flying before fuel stops).

Keep reading… Can other passengers travel on a medical repatriation?

3. "How do we get to the airport?"

EMS provides a complete “bed-to-bed” service on every transport. This basically means we take care of everything, including transfers to and from the airports. The transport team will collect your patient from the local facility (or their home) and take them to the airport by road ambulance, taxi or even limousine. In the meantime, our logistics team liaise with the ground handling agents who look after the security, check-ins and other transfer services at the airports you’re using.

Keep reading… Why is a “bed-to-bed” service so important?

4. "Can we take luggage?"

You can take one item of hand luggage on any air ambulance, even an intensive-care flight – and in most cases you can take some baggage in the hold too. This varies somewhat depending on the type of aircraft we’re using, but in general it’s up to 20kg luggage per person travelling. Private jets can take up to 5.5m2 of baggage (on the long-range aircraft), which is roughly equivalent to four golf club bags, five large suitcases and five small suitcases.

Keep reading… Air and road ambulance FAQ: what clothes should you wear for the journey?

5: "What documents will you need from me?"

To ensure that check-ins run quickly and smoothly, we’ll ask you to email us copies of the passports, resident permits and / or visas for each person who’s travelling with us, as soon as you possibly can. You don’t need to find a photocopier or fax machine. A simple scan or snapshot with your phone will do. We need to have these even if you’re travelling within a single country. You’ll also need to bring the originals with you when we arrive. Just pass them to the medical team and they can handle the check-ins for you.

Keep reading… I’m about to contact you: what details will EMS need from me?

Contact us

Do you have a burning question about air ambulance repatriations and how it all works? Please drop the EMS logistics team a line and they’ll be delighted to help. We’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. You can find all the details on our Contact Page.

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