We safely provide bedside to bedside transportation for patients fit-to-fly on commercial aircraft. An experienced Flight Coordinator at a substantial savings compared to air ambulances makes arrangements.
This team handles everything. Our Flight Coordinator books all of the transportation including airline reservations, ground transportation, and medical clearances. We provide all of the client’s medical care in concert with the client’s primary medical providers during the entire transport.
Our team is all Registered Nurses, educated in the United States with at least five years of Critical Care/ Emergency training and special training in flight physiology. Additionally, the Flight Coordinators have at least five years of flight experience. They have mastered the complex logistics needed, having personally flown hundreds of transports themselves.
We provide service domestically and internationally—we go virtually anywhere. Our clients range from seniors who simply need someone to accompany them during travel to patients on ventilators who need to be transported around the world and every kind of patient in between.
The Flying Angels team provides a Flight Nurse to accompany you on commercial or private aircraft. We handle the entire trip including ground transportation. Your Flight Coordinator will arrange whatever is needed, whether it’s a sedan, an ambulance, a train, or a boat.
Our clients range from elderly folks who simply need assistance through the airport and on the plane to medically complex patients who require ventilator support on international flights.
Clients on commercial aircraft travel First Class domestically and Business Class internationally, unless otherwise requested or clinically warranted. We have found there just isn’t enough room in Coach seating to be safe for the patient and courteous to the other passengers.
Clients with specific needs like spinal cord injuries can be transported on stretchers internationally. Unfortunately stretcher service is not available domestically. Clients are routinely accompanied by one of our Flight Nurses. Occasionally two Flight Nurses or a Flight Nurse and Respiratory Therapist will accompany a patient who is on a ventilator.
You or your representative are assigned a Flight Coordinator, a highly trained Flight Nurse with over a hundred transport missions. Your Flight Coordinator will be your primary point of contact with Flying Angels.
Your Flight Coordinator will ask all of the appropriate questions to establish a detailed plan for a safe transport. Nothing is left to chance.
Your Flight Coordinator will provide you with a detailed cost estimate based on specific needs. This includes costs for our services, airfare, ground transportation, and any other costs like visas, lodging, oxygen, and meals.
Once the Flying Angels quote for transport is approved, Flying Angels will collect a $250 deposit, applied to the costs of travel. The planning begins.
Your Flight Coordinator will ask for driver’s license information and a Passport, if needed. It’s important that this is correct so it’s best to fax or scan this information.
We coordinate with the hospital at your destination. Your Flight Coordinator will contact the hospital case manager to obtain medical records and obtain medical clearances from the treating physician.
We coordinate your specific needs with family members, physicians, case managers, social workers, airlines, and whoever else may be involved in the transport.
Once the arrangements are complete your Flight Coordinator will present an itemized statement for your review. Once approved and the balance is paid and the tickets are purchased and the transport process begins. You now have 24/7 access to your Flight Coordinator who handles everything.
We keep you and all the others involved fully informed during the entire process. Typically your Flight Nurse will visit the day before, introduce himself or herself and coordinate any last minute details.
Stable pulmonary status and secretion management. Supplemental oxygen requirements must be less than or equal to 40%. Resolution of pneumothorax > 72 hrs. Oxygen requirements at sea level must be adjusted to requirements at altitude.
Stable vital signs, no use of continuous intravenous cardiovasive medications (IV medications used to maintain stable blood pressure or heart rate/rhythm)
Long bone, pelvic or multiple fractures need 72 hours post injury to assess potential for fat emboli. Cast or splint immobilization for joint and extremity injuries require adequate room to allow for soft tissue swelling in flight.
Consideration for two staff members and appropriate medication
Able to tolerate 30 degree seated position without clinical compromise
As our commercial air escort service is an alternative to Air Ambulance, our focus remains safety first for both our patient and nurse. Our patients travel in business or first class seating. We choose this class of service for the extra room needed and to be courteous to surrounding passengers, not for the perks. When not accompanying a patient our flight nurses travel in coach to reduce costs. The Business or First Class cabin offers privacy and added space if a medical emergency were to occur and provides a quiet environment to decrease added stimulus that may alter a patient’s behavior. Coach seating may affect the patient’s mental, medical, and physical condition because of the tight seating. There are also rows of three or more seats in Coach, placing a stranger next to the patient that could cause unintentional problems.
Flying Angels often travel with patients who have mental health behavioral issues or have incurred neurologic insults resulting in the inability to converse, or walk, support themselves in a seated position, or care for any of their needs. Passengers on all flights are required to not block the exit of other passengers therefore; one nurse attempting to move a non-ambulatory or combative patient across a row of seats is unrealistic and unsafe. Bulkhead seating is also problematic; it may afford more room but often is a high traffic area. Airlines also do not allow a nurse with a patient in the exit row for obvious reasons.
If the patient requires special equipment such as oxygen for flight, the airlines have certain requirements that must be met that may require anywhere from 24 hrs to one week of advance notice, depending on the carrier. Therefore, it must be initiated immediately with a reservation.
When Flying Angels handles the airline reservations, we are aware of each airline’s medical requirements allowing us more control over expediting the medical clearance as we are ‘named’ on the record and have record locator numbers at hand. Flying Angels has portable oxygen concentrators readily available for travel. We also can provide suction machines, stroke chairs (reclining wheelchairs), and other unique medical requests.
While safety is paramount we recognize that every case is unique. We work to customize each transport to be as safe, efficient, and cost effective as possible. Some cases require more than one Flight Nurse however. Some may require more equipment or require a Flight Nurse specific specialized qualification.
To provide cost effective service we look at all airline options. We utilize all major air carriers. When you reach out to us to request an initial quote we will ask all the right questions. We consider at the patient’s needs, dates of travel, and destination. We will provide as accurate and transparent itemization of costs as we can.
Airline prices are based upon routes and not distance traveled. The price of a ticket on a flight from New York to Los Angeles may be half as much as a price of a ticket from New York to Des Moines. That same flight from New York to Los Angeles is probably more expensive when purchased 24 hours in advance than it would be if purchased four days in advance. There are many more variables including ground transportation. A 10–mile sedan ride is far less expensive than a 50–mile ambulance transport, for example.
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