I occasionally get calls from families or individuals who are not frequent private jet flyers, but have an urgent and medically driven need to stay away from the busy airports and cramped airline cabins. It can be something as simple as a broken leg from an unfortunate ski accident, need for transportation of an elderly relative with very specific medical conditions, or more critical care issue such as disaster evacuation, transportation of stroke/heart attack victims, or transportation for transplant patients.
If it is just extra cabin space and privacy you need, then a typical private jet charter might be fine for your trip. The privacy and calm of utilizing an FBO or private airport terminal and having the entire jet to oneself is a convenience that all private jet flyers enjoy – injured or not! If your need stems from specific medical needs however, then the consideration of an air ambulance might be appropriate.
If the passenger or passengers require medical attention or observation while in flight, then I highly recommend a reputable air ambulance service over a typical private jet charter. These air ambulance aircraft are equipped much like the ground-based units we are familiar with. In addition, they provide the support of experienced paramedics, nurses, and sometimes flight surgeons with advanced medical flight training. These professionals are trained in flight physiology and understand the unique circumstances surrounding providing medical attention at altitude. In some cases, health insurance can even cover the cost of specialized aero-medical transportation. The 7.5% Federal Excise Tax charged on standard charter flights is not applicable to medical flights, saving a few dollars while providing critical care that a typical air crew is not be trained to handle.
Transportation for elderly family members is a common request. Is an air ambulance necessary? If there are not any critical medical needs while in flight, the passenger can climb the stairs to board the aircraft, and can sit up during takeoff and landing, a standard private jet might be fine. A trusted family member or health care giver should always accompany the passenger. Even passengers who use oxygen can utilize FAA approved oxygen concentrators since oxygen bottles are considered hazardous material and are not allowed on board any aircraft as cargo.
Consultation with your health care provider should always be a first step toward determining if there is a need for an air ambulance service. There are many reputable services worldwide and I have found that these specialized aircraft are staffed with some of the most well-trained, caring and dedicated individuals in aviation.
If you have specific questions about planning a charter flight, seeking out an air ambulance service or just a general private aviation question feel free to contact us.