Frequently Asked Questions

› 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. With our long-standing expertise in arranging national and international ambulance flights and repatriations, we offer exactly those services that you need. With us, you are employing the medical transport and all services surrounding ambulance flights. We operate worldwide and offer our services in multiple languages. At your discretion, we visit you personally to consult and ensure smooth procedures and direct communication with doctors and clinics.

Quick and unhindered help at the right time and place – at fair prices – is our guiding principle, and we are always glad to offer you a customised and transparent proposal. We are not an anonymous call centre: with us, you communicate with experienced medical repatriation dispatchers 24 hours every day. We always support and advise you personally as the best possible and individual care is very dear 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, no intermediary
  • We combine over 40 years of medical aviation experience in our company
  • We always advise you independently and focused on the best possible treatment for the patient
  • We are part of the Verdana GmbH group
  • We are available 24 hours every day of the year
  • We assist you personally and directly, not through an anonymous call centre

Find out more about our global repatriation service with long-standing expertise.

› How fast can a repatriation be arranged?

Repatriations from abroad can be organised with a lead time of one hour due to a team of qualified medical personnel always on stand-by, as well as strategically stationed medical aircraft worldwide. In case special permits are required, we enable a fast-track authorization process. If you have any questions regarding patient transfers by plane, we are at your service 24 hours a day by phone, by email or via our contact form. In case of an emergency, always call us directly – our lines are always open, and we are glad to help you.

› Which countries do you collect patients from?

As per our motto, “We help worldwide”. We conduct ambulance flights, repatriations and evacuation flight anywhere in the world. Whether you need our help in Europe, Asia, Africa, North, Central or South America, or Australia/New Zealand, we arrange global ambulance flights and repatriation, and ensure the highest medical quality standards.

› How do I order an ambulance flight?

First please contact us by phone, by email or by using our contact form. We are happy to call you back for a free of charge and unbinding consultation on any question you might have about the best possible ambulance transport and to offer you a free estimate. You then discuss this offer with your family or friends. We keep the necessary correspondence to a minimum. As soon as all flight preparations are ready, you will receive a written estimate containing detailed information about the flight route, flight times, meeting points, pick-up times, etc. Once you have confirmed the estimate, we begin the planning of the ambulance flight and acquire all necessary permits (e.g. fly over and landing permits). You can pay for your ambulance flight by bank transfer, credit card or in cash.

› How much is an ambulance flight?

The costs depend on many factors such as flight route, the condition of the patient, promptness, number of companions, ground transport etc. We are available 24 hours every day to give an unbinding and free calculation of costs. Call us at any time, all our lines are constantly open – we are here to help you.

› Who decides whether the patient is able to fly?

Our doctors decide exclusively on the movability of the patient!

As the accompanying flight medic is responsible for the air ambulance service, he or she alone decides whether a patient is movable or not. Our flight doctors possess long-standing experience and extensive knowledge concerning medical flights and are best qualified to judge on the movability of a patient. In case there are any uncertainties, our doctor will certainly consult the treating doctor and will include the family in important decisions.

At times, patients are graded as not movable by the treating doctor as the medics on the ground don‘t want to take responsibility for transport by air due to liability concerns. Often those decisions also have a financial dimension. Because most ambulance aircraft can be fitted with intensive care equipment, they are used to safely transport coma patients or patients who suffered a stroke or heart attack. Do not hesitate to contact us – we arrange everything to bring you home or to your clinic of choice, always maintaining the highest quality standards.

The wellbeing of the patient has the highest priority on all transports and therefore every flight is prepared meticulously. Flight planners and specialised doctors are involved in the planning of every deployment from the very beginning. To unburden the patient‘s relatives and to secure the optimum medical care during the duration of the ambulance transport, we arrange for detailed medical clarification and, if necessary, facilitate pre-flight doctor-to-doctor consultations.

› Does the hospital decide whether a patient is fit for transport?

No. Most clinic doctors are not familiar with the possibilities of intensive care treatment on board an ambulance aircraft, and therefore regularly grade patients as not movable. Fact: The movability of a patient is decided upon by our medical department, always and exclusively! If the patient is graded as not movable by the treating clinic you don‘t have to accept that decision – simply contact us. We will help you to find the best solution for any situation.

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

If our medical department has cleared the patient as fit for transport before the flight, you can put your confidence in their expertise, sign such a declaration and leave the treating hospital of your own free will. Our flight physicians have long-standing experience and extensive knowledge regarding medical flights and thus are in the best position to judge if the patient is movable or not. Thanks to the intensive care equipment on board, we transport even the most critical intensive care patients with our repatriation and ambulance flights worldwide.

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

In most cases in most countries worldwide, nobody can be held in a hospital against their will. It does happen, however, that the treating clinic doesn‘t prove cooperative, and that language barriers or a lack of engagement of the hospital staff appear to make an ambulance flight impossible. Here you can firmly insist on release from the hospital, if necessary repeatedly pointing out you are doing so of your own accord. If the hospital still refuses, contact us at any time. Even in complex circumstances, we operate quickly and can find a solution orientated to ensuring an individually customised ambulance transport for the patient.

› The clinic doesn‘t provide a medical report despite our request. Is that legal?

No. It is common practice in most countries to hand over medical documents about the patient‘s current state of health to the patient or family promptly. If the clinic refuses to hand over the medical report or release papers, it is helpful to insist on your legal rights. If this doesn‘t prove fruitful, please contact us so we can work on a solution together. At times, the treating doctors just don‘t find time for paperwork due to their workload. In such cases a doctor-to-doctor consultation with our flight medics is very helpful and often sufficient.

› The treating clinic proves uncooperative. What can I do?

Sometimes, clinics refuse the handing over of medical documentation or the release of the patient on grounds of non-movability. The reasons for such decisions are diverse; apart from financial aspects, the treating doctor‘s dread of responsibility plays a vital role. But this concern is unfounded as our flight medics assume full responsibility for the air ambulance service, it is they who will ultimately decide on the movability of the patient. Our flight physicians have long-standing experience and extensive knowledge regarding medical flights and thus are in the best position to judge if the patient is fit to fly or not. Contact us, we will help you at any time to bring about your ambulance flight home or to a clinic of your choosing – we will find a solution together.

› Who can help with communication with clinics and doctors?

Our personnel are multilingual – even rare languages are spoken by native speakers – and are at your service at any time to assist you with communication with clinics and medical staff. If necessary, we are able to send suitable interpreters or multilingual physicians to support you anywhere in the world.

Depending on the designated language region, we include international personnel in our air ambulance planning to cover most eventualities in maintaining direct communication with everyone involved.

› Which documents are needed for ambulance flights?

Our first priority is the medical safety of the patient. Therefore, we will set the organisation of an ambulance flight in motion even if we haven‘t yet received all the documentation. They can be handed in later, even on very short notice. The lack of full documentation does not pose a hindrance for repatriation by air.

Generally, but not imperatively, medical reports from the treating clinic are needed, along with travel documents like passports and visas. Prior to the ambulance flight, foreign-language medical reports can be studied by our multilingual physicians, or will be translated if necessary.

› Is it possible for a relative to accompany the ambulance flight?

On almost every ambulance, at least one relative can accompany the patient‘s flight. Depending on the type of deployed aircraft and the state of health of the patient, even numerous companions with considerable luggage are able to travel on that flight. We are happy to devise an individually-tailored transport solution for you, and are available 24 hours every day.

› Is the patient allowed to carry luggage during the flight?

Hand-luggage can be carried on international repatriations and other medical flights. The transport of further luggage depends on the size of the deployed airplane: most ambulance jets are fitted with extensive medical equipment and allow only one item of hand luggage per passenger. Flight ambulances with larger ambulance planes provide more storage space. You have the choice to deploy a larger plane if you want to take extensive luggage. We will gladly answer all your questions concerning luggage transport.

› Can a wheelchair be carried with the patient?

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

› Language barrier – I don‘t speak the language of the hospital.

If you can‘t get access to medical information about the patient‘s state of health on-site, we will assist you from our operation centre. We conduct doctor-to-doctor consultations by phone in the respective local language to gather medical information for you, which generally is sufficient for the preparation of a repatriation. We can also provide an interpreter or a multilingual flight physician who will consult with the treating doctor and who will personally form an idea of your state of health. Please inform us at the start of the planning stage if you require medical personnel speaking the patient‘s native language. Besides all European languages, we also cover several Arabic dialects.

› What language do the flight medics speak?

To enable direct communication on board the ambulance aircraft, we always try to assemble a medical crew that speaks the patient‘s native language. This enhances the wellbeing of the patient during the entire ambulance flight, and strengthens his or her confidence.

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

It is always possible for the family doctor to join the transfer as an accompanying person, according to medical parameters. However, he or she is not a replacement for a highly specialised medical flight crew.

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

Of course we can. We gladly assist you during your entire stay, starting with the first contact with your preferred clinic, then the settling of formalities, and finally through to the organization of ambulance flights and ground transport. At your convenience, we also offer extensive help 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?

When using rescue helicopters, ground transport is not needed as the helicopter is able to land and lift off directly at the hospital, or in very close proximity.

In most cases, we operate ambulance planes due to the distance to be covered, and that requires ground transport to the airport. We arrange qualified ambulances that bring patients directly to the plane. We offer a gapless ambulance transport chain according to our bed-to-bed-service. You can also arrange the ground transport yourself, and we gladly support you in that as well.

› Who takes care of the transport of the accompanying person?

Generally, the registered accompanying person(s) is able to travel in the ambulance. If that is not possible, we can arrange for alternative transport to and from the airport.

› Which aircraft are used to conduct ambulance flights?

We select a suitable ambulance plane for your transfer with the maximum care of the patient in mind. Factors like flight route, number of companions and financial concerns are taken into account when choosing an airplane.

We rely on various types of ambulance planes with sufficient range and speed to be deployed on short, medium and long distance flights for ambulance transfers and international repatriations. Often, we resort to ambulance jets like the Learjet 31, Learjet 35, Learjet 35A, Learjet 36, Learjet 45, Learjet 55 and Learjet 60. Additionally, we use ambulance jet models like the Citation CJ2, CJ3, CJ4, Citation Bravo, Citation Sovereign, Citation Mustang, Challenger, Hawker, Embraer Phenom and Gulfstream 100. Furthermore, we deploy planes from Dornier for flights with accompanying persons, Boeing ambulance jets (BBJ) for VIP patient transfers, as well as established models by other manufacturers.

Turboprop ambulance planes are an economic alternative on short distance routes. Medical planes like the King Air 90, King Air 200 or Cheyenne III A are able to operate from smaller runways closer to their final destination, and thus we can keep transport times to a minimum. If it is sensible and you prefer this solution, we will happily deploy turboprop ambulance planes.

With us, you can choose a plane of your preference, as long as it is technically viable. We are happy to advise you on the right type of ambulance plane, taking into consideration the volume of luggage, number of accompanying persons, flight route, the patient‘s state of health and so on.

› Can I choose the type of the aircraft?

Yes. You can decide which type of ambulance plane is deployed for your international repatriation. You can choose from a wide range of ambulance jets and turboprop planes – naturally we gladly meet your wishes and advise you on your selection while considering the volume of luggage, number of accompanying persons, flight route, the patient‘s state of health, and so on.

› What personnel is on board the ambulance plane?

Most ambulance aircraft are fitted with intensive care equipment and have the option to adjust the medical facilities according to the state of health of the patient. Each mission is conducted by two pilots and a highly specialised medical crew.

› What medical care is available on board the ambulance plane?

Ambulance planes 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 ambulance flight. That enables us to conduct high-quality intensive care transport quickly and safely.

The standard outfit of an ambulance jet includes the following medical resources among others:

  • 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 analyzer
  • Satellite telephone for global communication

This is an exemplary listing – our medical department will combine any additional medical equipment according to clinical pattern of the patient prior to the flight.

› Does my insurance cover the costs of the ambulance service?

The insurance companies‘ decisions vary from case to case, hence there is no single answer to that question. In some cases, they cover all costs; in others, a part of the costs is refunded. We are happy to discuss with you personally the chances of your insurance company meeting the costs.

› Do I have to have membership with you?

No. We don‘t offer membership. We fly without contractual cover and execute ambulance flights if:

  • you are not insured
  • your insurance is opposed to ambulance service
  • the patient‘s movability is approved by our medical team
  • you wish to be transferred of your own accord

› Special conditions for contractual partners

If you are interested in a long-term collaboration in global ambulance flights, our department for contractual partners is happily available to discuss possibilities. We cooperate with prestigious doctors and many renowned international clinics in contractual partnership. Please call us to discuss a personalised solution together.