Medical Repatriation on a Scheduled Airliner
A patient transport on a scheduled airline flight is possible for some patients, depending on their condition, and usually represents an economical alternative to an air ambulance. Therefore, it is understandable that many patients' families request this solution. Naturally, we do everything we can to make this type of medical repatriation a reality for as many people as possible. Therefore, we can check at any time, free of charge, whether a medical repatriation on a scheduled flight is possible for your loved one.
Please note: At the same time, we must make it clear that, for medical reasons, repatriations on scheduled airliners are only possible under certain conditions. Many illnesses and disease patterns unfortunately exclude the possibility of a repatriation via this method. In addition, the airline companies require a lead time of at least two days. For this reason, the use of an ambulance jet is recommended for short-term medical repatriations as they can usually be ready to fly on the same day.
There are three options for medical repatriation on a scheduled airliner. The patient's condition will determine which option is most suitable.
Repatriation of stable patients, seated
Medical Repatriation UK offers you the option, on all air routes used by scheduled airlines worldwide, of being accompanied by medically qualified flight attendants. During the flight, the patient is under the constant supervision of our medical staff who can respond quickly and provide help in all eventualities.
Medically qualified flight attendants are especially suitable for patients who have mild illnesses and who cannot be accompanied by a relative or carer. We always ensure that the medic accompanying the patient on the flight is chosen not only for their medical but also for their social skills. This ensures that the patient always feels comfortable during the journey.
Repatriation of stable patients, lying down
For stable patients who are not in need of intensive care measures, repatriation lying down aboard a scheduled airliner can be particularly suitable. Whether this option is viable is always determined by the exact diagnosis of the patient and the particular flight route.
The patient is brought back to his or her home country on a stretcher under the care of a medical team; a privacy curtain separates the patient from the rest of the passengers. Of course, the patient doesn't have to be alone during the return flight as seats for family and friends can be booked in the patient's immediate vicinity.
Please note: We depend on the cooperation of the airlines when organising medical repatriations on scheduled airline flights. Therefore, our work is influenced by the airlines' internal processes and lead times. Unfortunately, the limited availability of seats, strict medical tests and the necessary modification of the aircraft often lead to delays or even a refusal by the particular airline to conduct the medical repatriation.
Low-cost airlines are excluded from the patient transport arena anyway, as they cannot offer this service in most cases. All these reasons add up to the fact that air passengers, even frequent fliers, rarely witness patient transports of this type.
Intensive care patient transport aboard a scheduled airliner
Intensive care patients can only be transported on scheduled airliners on long-haul flights (from eight hours' flight time). On shorter routes the airlines are not prepared make the investment needed to equip the cabin for the most seriously ill patients. Therefore, a medical repatriation in an ambulance jet is often more economical in these cases.
For intensive care patient transport by scheduled airliner, the so-called PTC (Patient Transport Compartment) is used. The PTC is a small, compact cabin fitted with a comprehensive range of intensive care medical equipment. It has adjustable patient transport stretchers and separates the patient from the other passengers with partition walls. This means that even patients with serious illnesses can be transported by scheduled airliner.
The PTC is fitted with the following equipment:
- Scoop stretcher with vacuum mattress and patient warming system
- Biphasic defibrillator
- External pacemaker, syringe pumps and pressure infusion bags
- Emergency backpack with special equipment for the care of children and babies
- Portable intensive care patient transport ventilator
- At least 2,400 litres of oxygen
- Infection protection kits
- Multifunctional monitoring for ECG monitoring, blood pressure measurement, pulse oximetry, capnography and temperature measurement
- A bag valve mask with a demand valve and vacuum pumps
Depending on the health of the patient, we will use other medical instruments and medicines to provide the highest level of medical safety during the ambulance flight.
Please note: We are in constant contact with all scheduled airlines and will always try to find the fastest solution for you. However, due to the necessary preparations, we first have to check whether and when it is possible to transport the patient in a scheduled airliner.
Most airlines usually require at least one to two days to make the necessary preparations. A number of passenger seats need to be removed so that the stretcher or PTC for the patient can be installed in the aircraft. Such adjustments can only be made at the home airport of the particular airline, which significantly restricts the choice of possible flight connections.
In addition, we must not forget that, for the airlines, the wellbeing of their own passengers always takes priority, especially in business or first class. That is why all airlines carry out detailed medical checks and examinations in advance, to rule out any possible complications on board, or any inconvenience for other passengers.
In most cases, only direct flights are useful for the operation of ambulance flights aboard scheduled airliners, which further limits the choice of suitable airlines. If stopovers are unavoidable, consideration should be given to the use of an ambulance aircraft, due to the possible delays and complications of organising connecting flights.
Any further questions?
If you have any further questions about the general conditions for a medical repatriation flight in a scheduled airliner, we recommend that you have a look at our FAQ, where we have collated the answers to many of our customers' questions.
Contact us now about your medical repatriation
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