7 Tips for arranging a medical flight by the best air ambulance company

Traditional inland ambulances aren't always the best mode of transporting patients, especially following a serious trauma or critical illness. In such cases, an air ambulance may be the most efficient and secure option for medical repatriation/evacuation. However, with the number of air ambulance companies rising in recent years, determining which one fully meets your needs can be nerve-racking. Medical Air Service has compiled some helpful guidelines to assist you in making an informed decision. But first, find out more about air ambulances and their daily uses.

What is an air ambulance?

With nothing from the outside, other than the relevant logos, identifying it as such, an air ambulance is either a fixed-winged airplane or helicopter used for transporting patients who cannot endure the rigors of commercial flights or whose medical emergency does not qualify them for traveling long distances by ground. Positioning themselves as a safe and quick way of traveling long distances, they are specifically equipped for those requiring urgent or extensive medical assistance during the flight. Along the same line, in addition to being packed with essential machines, equipment, kits and tools, they are also manned with medical experts.

Good to know: In addition to assisting ill people, Medical Air Service also enables the medical evacuation of anyone seeking medical attention in a care facility which is a pole apart, both in terms of the quality of services offered and the medical personnel, from their native country.

In that respect, Medical Air Service's medical aircraft are fully equipped with stretchers, CPR equipment, ECG and other monitoring units, as well as medications. Oxygen and IV fluids are also available. 

icu equipment

To summarise, Medical Air Service’s air ambulances can be used both for numerous medical emergencies and non-emergency requirements, such as:

  • Heart attacks;
  • Haemorrhage;
  • Organ transplants;
  • Hypoxemia (low blood oxygen);
  • Life-threatening injuries and accidents;
  • Burn injuries consisting of or greater than 50% of total body surface areas
  • Gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, risks of preterm labour or signs of miscarriage in pregnant women.

Arranging an air ambulance: What to expect?

People tend to choose a medical air ambulance company based on its pricing policies, just as they may do for personal commercial flights. However, as previously stated, medical repatriation and evacuation entail more than just transportation. In this regard,  since not all medical flights are created equal, there are some criteria that can help you identify the best air ambulance provider.

To begin with, because there is little to no regulatory or government oversight of the air ambulance industry, it is critical to choose an air medical flight service with high safety standards. To give you an example, Medical Air Service has received certifications from a variety of internationally recognised organisations, such as TÜV SÜD or Bureau Veritas, and we are also proud of our partnership with the Flight Safety Foundation.

The best air medical flights shall also arrange and coordinate everything to ensure that you and your family have a stress-free experience. Like Medical Air Service, they should  have a 24/7 mission response centre staffed with highly skilled professionals. In the same vein, our advisors have direct access to consultant physicians and medical specialists, thus allowing them to arrange an air medical flight or share pertinent information with you without delay.

learjet air ambulance

Choosing an air ambulance provider: What sets Medical Air Service apart?

While the decision on which firm offers the best air ambulance services rests with you, there are a few important factors that must be taken into consideration. 

Medical Air Service staff is available to help answer any of the following questions:

  What is the company's safety record? Is there any evidence of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) violations?

Industry standards: Though there are no specific standards regulating this aspect, the majority of providers have excellent safety records.

Medical Air Service standards: Because of strict internal quality, safety standards, and numerous accreditations, you can be confident in the safety of our air ambulance transports.

 What are the features of the best medical aircraft?

Industry standards: Ranging from very small, non-pressurised planes to larger planes, a variety of aircraft is available throughout the industry.

Medical Air Service standards: Only pressurized, all-weather aircraft capable of flying above cloud level as well as under sea level conditions are used for medical transport. Our cabins are large enough to ensure the patient's comfort and quality care, and they are not used on a part-time basis for freight transport or charter flights. Additionally, our medical equipment is inspected before each flight by qualified medical personnel.

 What are the pilot qualifications?

Industry standards: Minimal federal regulations allow some aircraft to be operated by a single pilot with a minimum of 1,500 hours' total flying time.

Medical Air Service standards: Medical Air Service requires two pilots with years of experience flying ambulances and similar planes for each flight. A co-pilot improves flight safety by assisting the main pilot and taking over control of the plane if necessary.

What are the transport team qualifications or special training?

Industry standards: They are non-existent.

Medical Air Service standards: Nurses, paramedics, respiratory therapists, and other specialists trained in critical care medicine, advanced cardiovascular life support, or flight physiology and safety are all part of the Medical Air Service team. There are also specialised teams for pediatric and neonatal care. Each flight team, as well as all equipment, is chosen based on the patient's specific actual and potential needs.

Good to know: Medical Air Service guarantees a team of at least two critical health care professionals on each of its medical flight. This ensures that there is enough personnel on hand to treat a medical emergency if the patient's condition deteriorates.

Will the medical team on board be in contact with a hospital during the transport?

Industry standards: No federal requirements demand that the health care team be in contact with a hospital during the transport.

Medical Air Service standards: Our air ambulance flight teams work closely with emergency room doctors and other professionals. If a medical emergency, unexpected complication, or worsening of a patient's condition occurs during the flight, communication between one of our doctors and this team is assured via air phone or two-way radio.

 What equipment and medications will the team carry?

Industry standards: Few federal regulations specify which equipment or medication must be made available.

Medical Air Service standards: As stated above, our specially-equipped air ambulances carry oxygen, monitoring equipment, and other mission-critical medications. Advanced medical equipment is available for patients whose medical needs are complex.

 What is the cost? When is payment required?

Industry standards: The cost of medical air transport varies significantly, and full advance payment is often required by many services.

Medical Air Service standards: We already provide cost estimates during the initial call for service. The majority of our services also require full payment in advance.

Why opt for Medical Air Service?

There are numerous factors to consider when looking for the best air medical flights, the majority of which have been mentioned above.

There are, however, a few other key aspects to consider, one of which is the patient's medical history. Medical Air Service does take into account the latter's pre-existing medical conditions, in order to provide the best critical care by in-flight healthcare professionals. But wait, there's more!

Our bed-to-bed services: The patient is accompanied by a highly trained crew of medical professionals, as well as critical care medics, on each of our medical flights. In addition to closely monitoring his condition throughout the journey, our medical professionals on board liaise with the receiving facility's medical director, and provide him with a fly-to-fly status so that his team is fully prepared to receive the patient.

ground ambulance

We take care of everything: Medical Air Service understands that arranging an air medical flight can be a stressful experience, which is why we handle the entire process for you from start to finish. We are committed to providing a comprehensive list of care and aftercare services, from arranging airline tickets to providing ground transportation at both your current location and the destination, medical clearance, and fly-to-fly status verification. If your insurance plan covers our ambulance service, we also assist you in filing the relevant insurance claims, and obtaining any necessary pre-authorisation. Patients in need of medical supervision will also be provided with commercial medical escorts.

Do you have any questions?

Our FAQs provide comprehensive information about our services.

Contact us now

We are happy to advise customers regarding our repatriation and evacuation flights. Our team is available 24/7 for a free, no-obligation consultation. Within hours we can organize medical repatriation from anywhere in the world. Please contact us:

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