Frequently Asked Questions

› Can you transport patients suffering from coronavirus (Covid-19)?

Yes. In most cases, it is possible to transport coronavirus patients. In order to assure a safe transfer, we use a modern mobile isolation system. This enables us to provide optimum care for the patient while preventing him from infecting other people during the transport.

› I found you online – are you the right contact for me?

Medical Air Service is an established provider of private ambulance flights, repatriations from abroad and patient transfers. We have years of expertise in arranging national and international ambulance flights and repatriations. We can handle all aspects of repatriation, including liaising with medical staff at hospitals. We operate worldwide and our staff speak multiple languages, including English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, Dutch, Turkish, Polish and four Arabic dialects. We can visit you in person for a consultation, to ensure the journey goes smoothly and to facilitate direct communication with doctors and clinics.

We provide quick, professional help at the right time and place, and at a fair price. This is our guiding principle, and we are always happy to provide a customised, transparent quotation. We are not an anonymous call centre: with us, you talk directly to experienced medical repatriation dispatchers who are available 24/7. We treat every patient as an individual: providing the best possible support for our patients is very important to us.

Put your trust in our experience and competence:

  • We are a global air ambulance company.
  • We operate according to ISO 9001 standards.
  • We are a contractual air carrier – we don’t use intermediaries.
  • Our staff have over 40 years of medical aviation experience.
  • We treat every patient as an individual, focusing on the best possible treatment for the patient.
  • We are part of the Vendana GmbH group.
  • We are available 24/7, 365 days of the year.
  • When you call us, you speak directly to our specialist staff, not to staff at a call centre.

› How quickly can a repatriation be arranged?

Repatriations from abroad can be organised with a lead time of one hour thanks to our teams of qualified medical personnel who are always on stand-by and our fleet of strategically stationed air ambulances worldwide. If special permits are required, such as visas, we can arrange for them to be fast-tracked.

› Which countries do you collect patients from?

As our motto says, ‘We help worldwide’. We carry out ambulance flights, repatriations and evacuation flights from anywhere in the world. Whether you need our help in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand or North, Central or South America, we arrange global ambulance flights and repatriation, ensuring the highest medical standards.

We have listed all airports from which we operate, sorted by continents and countries. When using helicopters for short flights, we can even land directly at most hospitals.

› How do I order an ambulance flight?

First of all, please contact us:

We would be happy to call you back – free of charge, of course. We will talk to you and clarify what you need, then we will provide you with a free estimate and give you and your family time to consider our offer and get back to us.

After we have completed all flight plans, you will receive a written quotation from us that lists the flight details (e.g. the flight time, the meeting point, the pick-up time, etc.). Once you have confirmed that you are happy with our offer, we immediately start to plan the repatriation flight and acquire all necessary permits.

Normally, we accept bank transfers or payment by credit card for the ambulance flight. However, if you prefer, you can arrange to visit our headquarters in Wuppertal, Germany, or one of our other offices worldwide and pay in cash.

› How much does an ambulance flight cost?

The cost depends on many factors, such as:

  • the flight route
  • the condition of the patient and how much care they require
  • the type of aircraft we use
  • the availability of the aeroplane
  • how quickly you’d like the flight to take place.

› Who decides whether a patient is well enough to fly?

Our doctors have the final say.

Since the medic accompanying the patient is responsible for the patient’s safety in the air, they alone decide whether or not a patient is well enough to travel. Our flight doctors possess long-standing experience and extensive knowledge and are ideally placed to judge a patient’s condition. If necessary, our doctor will consult the treating doctor and will include the patient’s family in important decisions.

Because most air ambulances can be fitted with intensive care equipment, they are used to safely transport patients in a coma or patients who have suffered a stroke or heart attack.

The patient’s well-being is the highest priority on all flights, and every flight is planned meticulously. Flight planners and specialist doctors are involved in planning every repatriation. To relieve the patient’s relatives and to ensure optimum medical care during the trip, we arrange for updates on the patient’s condition and, if necessary, facilitate pre-flight doctor-to-doctor consultations. We guarantee the best possible medical treatment during the whole journey, by ground and by air, to provide peace of mind for our patients and their relatives.

› Does the hospital decide whether a patient is fit to travel?

No. Most clinic doctors are not familiar with the options for intensive care treatment on board an air ambulance, so they regularly classify patients as unfit to fly. 

Fact: Our medical staff always make the final decision about a patient’s condition and whether they are fit to fly.

If hospital staff say a patient is not fit to fly, you don’t have to accept that decision. Contact us – we will help you to find the best solution.

› The doctors at the hospital made us sign a declaration to relieve them of any liability. What can we do?

If our medical department has cleared the patient as fit to fly before the flight, you can put your confidence in their expertise, sign the declaration and leave the hospital. Our flight physicians have long-standing experience and extensive knowledge regarding medical flights and are best placed to judge whether a patient is fit to travel. Thanks to the intensive care equipment on board our aircraft, we confidently transport patients who require intensive care on our repatriation and ambulance flights worldwide.

› The hospital refuses to release the patient. What can we do?

In most countries, patients cannot be held in a hospital against their will. It can happen, however, that the hospital staff are uncooperative, and that a language barrier or a lack of interest or understanding shown by hospital staff appear to make an ambulance flight impossible. But you can insist on the patient being released from hospital – if necessary, repeatedly pointing out that you are doing so of your own accord. If the hospital still refuses, contact us. Even in complex circumstances, we can usually find a solution.

› The clinic has not provided a medical report, despite us asking them to several times. Is this legal?

No. It is common practice in most countries to promptly hand over medical notes about the patient’s state of health to the patient or family. If a clinic refuses to hand over medical notes or release papers, it is helpful to know your legal rights.

If this doesn’t work, contact us – we’d be happy to work on a solution with you. At times, hospital doctors just don’t have enough time to complete paperwork, due to their workload. In such cases a doctor-to-doctor consultation with our flight medics is very helpful.

› The hospital is being uncooperative. What can I do?

Sometimes, hospitals refuse to hand over medical notes or to release a patient because they say the patient is too ill to be moved. The reasons for such decisions are diverse; apart from financial reasons, the treating doctor will not want to be held responsible for anything bad happening to the patient. But this concern is unfounded as our flight medics assume full responsibility for the air ambulance service. They will ultimately decide if the patient is well enough to be moved.

Our flight physicians have long-standing experience and extensive knowledge regarding medical flights and are in the best position to judge if the patient is fit to fly or not. Contact us – we will help you to bring your loved one home.

› Who can help me and my family communicate with clinics and doctors?

Our personnel are multilingual, which is very helpful when dealing with staff in hospitals worldwide. Our staff are at your service 24/7 to help you communicate with clinics and medical staff. If necessary, we can send interpreters or multilingual physicians to support you anywhere in the world.

Depending where the patient is located, we try to include medical personnel who speak the patient’s native language in our air ambulance, to ensure communication is as efficient as possible.

› Which documents do you need for an ambulance flight?

Our first priority is the patient’s medical condition and their safety. We will start to organise an ambulance flight even if we haven’t received all the documentation we need. Paperwork, such as medical notes, can be handed in later. A lack of full documentation does not prevent repatriation by air.

Generally, but not always, we will need the patient’s medical notes from the clinic or hospital that treated them, along with their travel documents, such as passports and visas. Prior to the medical repatriation, our multilingual physicians will study the patient’s notes, or these may be translated, if necessary. If you wish, we can also support the patient and their relatives to apply for a visa.

› Can a relative accompany the patient on the air ambulance?

On almost every air ambulance, at least one relative can accompany the patient. Depending on the type of aircraft we use and the patient’s state of health, we can sometimes find room for several of the patient’s companions and their luggage. We are happy to devise an individual transport solution for you, and we’re available 24/7.

› Is the patient allowed to take luggage on the flight?

Hand luggage can be carried on international repatriations and other medical flights. Whether the patient can take more luggage depends on the size of the aircraft: most Learjets are fitted with extensive medical equipment and allow only one item of hand luggage per passenger. If the patient is being transported on a larger ambulance plane, it will have more storage space.

You have the choice of a larger plane if you want to take extensive luggage. We will gladly answer all your questions concerning luggage transport.

› Can a patient take a wheelchair on the plane?

That depends on the size of the ambulance plane and the size of the wheelchair. Small, foldable wheelchairs are normally no problem, but they have to be registered beforehand. Larger electronic or battery-powered wheelchairs can, in most cases, only be transported on board large ambulance planes, due to their size.

› Help – I don’t speak the language and I can’t understand what hospital staff are telling me

If you can’t get access to the patient’s medical notes at the hospital, we will help you. We carry out doctor-to-doctor consultations by phone to find out information for you, which is generally enough to allow us to arrange a repatriation.

We can also provide an interpreter or a multilingual flight physician who will consult with the treating doctor and who will personally assess the patient. Please inform us as soon as possible if you require medical personnel who speak the patient’s native language. As well as all European languages, our staff also speak Russian and several Arabic dialects.

› What language do the flight medics speak?

To allow the patient to communicate with medical staff on board the air ambulance, we always try to assemble a medical crew that speaks the patient’s native language. This reassures the patient during the flight and gives them confidence.

› Is my family doctor allowed to accompany the patient on the ambulance flight?

It is always possible for your family doctor to join the transfer as an accompanying person, providing there is room for them. However, they are not a replacement for a highly trained medical flight specialist. 

› I would like to be treated abroad. Can you help me organise treatment and patient transport?

Of course we can. We will happily assist you to plan your entire stay, starting with the first contact with your preferred clinic, then arranging formalities such as visas, through to the organisation of ambulance flights and ground transport. We also offer support during your stay at the clinic. We provide experienced multilingual personnel to make your medical treatment abroad as comfortable and smooth as possible. 

› Who will bring the patient to the airport?

We offer all our patients a bed-to-bed service. We arrange for an ambulance to bring the patient from the hospital to the plane, then from the airport to the clinic of your choice. You can also arrange ground transport yourself – we would be happy to support you

When using an ambulance helicopter, ground transport is not needed as the helicopter can land at and take off from the hospital, or very close to it. 

› Who organizes transport for anyone accompanying the patient?

Generally, a relative or friend is able to travel in the ground ambulance with the patient. If that is not possible, we can arrange for alternative transport to and from the airport.

› Which aircraft are used for ambulance flights?

We select an aircraft with the patient’s needs in mind. Factors such as flight route, distance, cost and the number of people travelling with the patient are taken into account when we choose an aeroplane.

We use various types of aircraft with sufficient range and speed for short, medium and long-distance flights for ambulance transfers and international repatriations. We often use the following planes:

  • Learjet 31, Learjet 35, Learjet 35A, Learjet 36, Learjet 45, Learjet 55 and Learjet 60
  • Bombardier Challenger
  • Cessna Citation CJ2, CJ3, CJ4, Citation Bravo, Citation Sovereign, Citation Mustang, Challenger, Hawker
  • Embraer Phenom
  • Gulfstream 100.

Turboprop ambulance planes are an economical alternative on short routes. These planes are able to take off from shorter runways at airports that may be closer to the patient’s final destination, so we can keep transport times to a minimum. If you prefer this solution, we use turboprop ambulance planes, including the following:

  • Beechcraft King Air 90 and 200
  • Piper Cheyenne III A.

We deploy Dornier planes if the patient has several people accompanying them, Boeing ambulance jets for VIP patient transfers, and some models by other manufacturers.

With us, you can choose the plane you prefer, as long as it is technically viable. We are happy to advise you on the best type of aircraft, taking into consideration the patient’s condition, the flight route, the volume of luggage you have, the number of passengers, and so on.

› Can I choose the type of aircraft we travel in?

Yes. You can decide which type of aircraft is deployed for your international repatriation, choosing from a wide range of jets and turboprop planes. We will try to meet your needs and advise you while considering other factors, such as the flight route, the patient’s condition, the volume of luggage, the number of passengers, and so on. 

› How many staff are on board the air ambulance?

Each aircraft has two pilots and a highly specialised medical crew. Most air ambulances are fitted with intensive care equipment and can be adapted to fit in extra equipment, depending on the patient’s health and requirements. 

› What medical equipment is available on board the air ambulance?

Air ambulances are fitted with intensive care equipment that, depending on the type of plane, can be adjusted to accommodate the individual needs of the patient prior to the flight. That enables us to offer high-quality intensive care on the flight.

Standard medical equipment in an air ambulance includes the following:

  • Lifeport Intensive Care Unit with vacuum mattress and patient loading system
  • Central oxygen tank (6,000 litres) and optional reserve tank
  • Multi-parameter intensive care transport monitor
  • Compact defibrillator/monitor system
  • Intensive care respirator for complex artificial respiration cases
  • Portable blood gas analyser
  • Satellite telephone for global communication.

This list is an example of the type of equipment that can be carried. Our medical staff will add any extra medical equipment they think the patient may need, prior to the flight. 

› Will my insurance cover the cost of the air ambulance?

Insurance companies’ cover varies from case to case, so there is no one right answer to this question. Some insurance companies will cover all costs; others only cover a portion of the costs.

Contact us to discuss your insurance policy and the chance of your insurance company meeting the costs. 

› Do I have to have membership with you?

No. We don’t offer membership. We are happy to arrange ambulance flights if:

  • the patient is not insured
  • the patient’s insurance will not pay for an air ambulance service
  • the patient’s fitness to fly is approved by our medical team
  • the patient wishes to discharge himself from the hospital.

› Special conditions for contractual partners

If you are interested in a long-term collaboration in global ambulance flights, we’d be happy to discuss the options with you. We partner with prestigious doctors and many world-famous clinics and hospitals.

› Can you tell me more about Medical Air Service?

You are always in good hands with Medical Air Service. Each year, we arrange hundreds of repatriations by plane or helicopter, dealing with patients and their families professionally, compassionately, honestly and with integrity. Travelling with us, you always have an experienced global air ambulance company you can rely on.

Whether you need a medical repatriation, an ambulance flight or are travelling abroad for medical treatment, our years of expertise in organising medical flights allow us to provide the expertise and assistance you require. Your safety and well-being are our top priority.

If you have any questions, please give us a call. Our offices are open 24/7 and our employees are on duty worldwide to arrange national and international air ambulance flights for you at short notice.  

Medical Air Service: swift help in medical repatriation 

Medical emergencies, injuries or sudden illnesses can occur anywhere and at any time, even when you’re on holiday. Although nobody likes to think about it, having an accident or falling ill during a holiday abroad can turn serious quite quickly. To minimise the stress and worry of such a situation, you can rely on us. We will take you back to your home country, ensuring you are always accompanied by medical staff. 

Why should you choose Medical Air Service? 

  • Long-standing expertise: Our team has been helping patients and their relatives for several years. Our experience and knowledge ensure that every ambulance flight goes smoothly.
  • Modern technology and equipment: When organising a medical repatriation, we use on modern air ambulances with all the latest technology and medical equipment. This helps us to guarantee excellent medical treatment and comfort during the flight.
  • Transparency: We are a contractual air carrier, not just an intermediary. We offer a transparent, reliable service along with a clear, binding pricing policy at all times.
  • Personal assistance: We are there to help you, 24/7. You will always be able to speak directly to an expert, not to staff from a call centre. We are happy to answer any questions about our services, and we organise quick, efficient medical repatriations. We also offer assistance via email, live chat and our contact form.
  • Overcoming language barriers: Medical treatment may fail due to language barriers. To overcome this, our multilingual employees are available 24/7. If desired, we can provide an interpreter who will assist you on-site.
  • 24/7 availability: In an emergency situation, a few hours can mean the difference between life and death. We are available round the clock worldwide, and can arrange national and international medical flights at short notice. 

Medical repatriation: Our services 

We are an experienced provider of medical repatriation flights. If you need medical repatriation, you can choose from various options.

If no time-sensitive aeromedical transport is necessary and the patient is stable, we also offer medical transport on commercial flights. This can be carried out when the patient is sitting upright, lying down, or in a separate area called a Patient Transport Compartment. This means that the patient’s relatives can always be close by to give support and reassurance. If, however, time-sensitive medical repatriation is necessary, we can arrange a fully equipped air ambulance. On short flights, we also use helicopters for their speed and versatility.

Whichever option you choose, our medical staff will accompany you throughout your journey. We also gladly take care of all paperwork that could arise.