TOLL FREE : 1.877.521.1333 INTERNATIONAL: 1.808.521.1333


Family Member

Air Medical Travel is Complex – Let an Expert Take You Safely Home


Air ambulance transports certainly fulfill a medical need for emergency evacuation. However, many family members do not require this level of transport. Family members in the recovery phase after illness or injury can be safely transported on a commercial aircraft with the assistance of a specially trained, skilled flight nurse. When it comes to a family member’s transfer needs, many facilities do not have an established travel assistance program.  Most often, family members requiring flight care are taking a significant risk traveling home alone, with other family members, or with a medically untrained individual with little or no flight transport experience. Some family members have unnecessarily resorted to private air ambulance companies at an exceedingly high and unjustified cost. Others have accepted the services of a hospital nurse caring for the family member but often they have no flight training or no professional liability insurance for this service. With over 20 years of commercial flight experience, we can offer an appropriate evaluation to determine how to safely transport your family member to their desired destination.


Though we encourage you to contact us at any time, we first recommend that you contact the social worker or case manager of the facility where your family member is a patient and advise them of your wishes for transfer. Either of these resources can assist you in selecting an appropriate receiving facility for your family member transfer. Once a facility is chosen, one of our team of advanced practice registered nurses will evaluate, make recommendations, and assist you and the health care team in this complex process. We will coordinate all ground and air transportation from destination to destination. Safety is our FIRST priority. We are very conservative in our approach. We meet all FAA safety criteria and we have set up safety protocols for the well-being of our family members.


We assist family members with restricted ambulation and orthopedic injuries. We care for behavioral health disorders and neurological injuries. We administer supplemental oxygen and provide for complex respiratory needs. Many of our family members require full assist lifting transfers from bed, to chair, to aircraft seat. Intravenous hydration, intravenous medications, sedatives and pain relief, can be administered in-flight. Many family members require fully dependent care and may be limited in communicating their needs. We make every attempt to customize their medical travel plan. The family member’s comfort and safety is our highest priority. If we do not feel we can meet this priority, we may decline services until we are confident this can be fulfilled.


For safety reasons, family member comfort, and respect for other passengers, we require that our family members travel in the first class or business cabin. Our nurses travel in economy when not traveling with their family member. For long distance travel, most often associated with international transports, stretcher services can be evaluated but are rarely offered by airline carriers.  Stretchers are uncomfortable for the family member, offer little privacy, and are costly and generally not advised. As an alternative, some international carriers offer first class seats that lie flat. Requesting a stretcher may also alarm the airline that a passenger is less stable than they desire to transport. We will discuss all appropriate options with you.


Contact us by phone, email or our website Transport Inquiry Form. We generally can be ready to travel within 48-72 hours dependent on patient needs and flight availability.

Preliminary Quote

We will review the family member’s medical requirements with you to determine if our service of commercial transport is appropriate. Next we will put together a preliminary quote for your consideration. If we feel the family member is not quite ready for transport due to such things as mobility or oxygen impairments, we will advise you or the health care team how to prepare the family member.

When you wish to proceed you will need: The family and healthcare team in agreement with one family spokesperson and a receiving facility identified along with a proposed date of travel.  From there, you will work with one Flight RN Coordinator.

The Coordinator will do the following

  • Request an official medical report from the family member’s hospital records and a verbal nursing report from the health care member caring for the family member. The purpose of this is to ascertain if the family member is deemed fit to travel. After review, we will immediately make recommendations to you and the health care team to prepare the family member for travel.
  • Begin securing a proposed airline itinerary for the date you desire. Immediate consideration is given to ordering airline oxygen, due to a 48 hour minimum notice required by most carriers. We will speak with the medical department of the airline regarding oxygen and special medical requests. We have long-term trustworthy relationships established with most US and international airline carriers.
  • Confirm availability of our flight nurse staff and select a nurse to travel based on the location closest to the sending or receiving facility. The nurse is also selected based on the needs of the family member.
  • Coordinate the channels of communication between hospital administration, family members, medical staff, interdisciplinary teams, case managers, insurance companies and financial institutions.
  • Advise the health care team, family member and family as to the necessary steps to prepare the family member for a commercial flight and follow up that these steps are indeed being done.
  • Request specific medical orders and medical clearance documents from the discharging physician. We must have a signed commercial airline medical clearance form from the family member’s physician.
  • Organize each additional travel detail from ground transportation, layover assistance, ground and in-flight oxygen, specialized medical equipment, and offer guidance and assistance in obtaining international travel documents.


Medical treatment is administered under the direction of the discharging physician’s medical orders. Medications are prescribed and dispensed by the sending facility in accordance with these medical orders. Fitness to Fly and Airline Medical Clearances are obtained from the discharging physician and the medical department of the airline carrier. In-flight emergency treatment is performed in accordance with the American Heart Association Basic Life Support standards.


We are eager to offer any information that we may have in assisting you with this complex and timely process. We are available 7 days a week and can be ready to travel within 48-72 hours dependent on family member needs and flight availability.

*Flying Nurses International is not affiliated or otherwise associated with InteliStaf or its “Flying Nurses” travel nurse staffing division.*