Medical transport – commercial flight
Sometimes a medical transport does not require a special ambulance aircraft, because patients can also be moved on a commercial flight with medical attendance. These transports however have basic rules, which must be followed.
Each airline has a policy regarding the transport of a patient in the company of other travellers. According to these policies, a detailed datasheet has to be filled out in each case. Based on the information provided, the airline will make a decision about the following: can the patient be moved and taken professional care of on a commercial flight without disturbing the other passengers, should the patient be transported on the economy or business class, should the patient be transported in a sitting, or a semi-sitting position, or on a stretcher. It is important to know, that if a stretcher is needed, at least 9 seats have to be reserved, and the ticket for the medical escort has to be purchased as well (usually both ways).
In case of medical transport on a commercial flight we first carry out a preliminary survey, then we make a suggestion regarding the level of competence of the escort. Based on the results we provide our clients with an ambulance nurse, a paramedic, a specialist physician, or the combination of the above for the flight. Each member of our medical team has professional experience onboard an ambulance aircraft, and they also have many years of experience in working under special conditions, such as limited space, and a special physical environment.
Note: You should know, that almost any intervention on a commercial flight is next to impossible, and if the medical escort travels alone, he/she has a limited capacity. On these flights mostly general nursing tasks can be carried out, such as providing patient comfort, pain control, basic interventions.
From a logistical point of view – and because of the above – the transport of patients on commercial flights is not always recommended from a medical or often financial point of view, in which case transport by special ambulance aircraft is required. For example, if the final destination can only be reached by transfer, the time on the ground can be considerable, or in the meantime, an outpatient clinic may not be not available and patient movement is also problematic.