Aerocare Air Ambulance Blog


What You Need To Know About Commercial Medical Escorts

September 23, 2019

What is a Commercial Medical Escort?

When someone thinks of flying a sick or injured person, the immediate thought is an air ambulance. However, this is not the only option the consumer has available to them. Commercial Medical Escorts have become a popular way to save the consumer monies, while still ensuring their patient, family, loved one, friend, etc. is provided a continuum of care at 40,000 feet.

There are several different options to choose from when coordinating a Commercial Medical Escort. They include, but are not limited to:

Stretcher Transport – In these instances, six seats are removed from the coach cabin and a bed is installed with a privacy curtain for the patient. This set up is only available on international carriers.

First Class/Business Class – Available on both domestic and international airlines, this is the most common form of Commercial Escort available and easiest to coordinate. Patients usually need to be able to sit upright during takeoff, taxi and landing of the aircraft, however, there are instances where lay down pods can be utilized.

Normal configuration for Commercial Medical Escorts in either Stretcher configuration or First Class/Business Class is by a nurse and/or paramedic trained in aeromedical education/safety. In some instances, a physician familiar with aeromedical care may become part of this team or replace a member of the normal team.

Lufthansa Medical Pod – Lufthansa Airlines offers a fully configured “flying ICU” compartment that is available on select international flights.In these instances, Lufthansa Airlines engages their employed medical personnel take full control of all of the medical needs of the patient from point to point.

Who Can Utilize Medical Escort Services?

To ensure the highest level of patient care and safety, a thorough assessment of the patient should be conducted before the decision to go Commercial Escort is made.This may involve speaking with discharging physicians/providers, care takers, reviewing diagnostic reports, x-ray’s, etc. Ensuring that the patient condition both physically and mentally is manageable and won’t cause disruption of a commercial aircraft is paramount to success for these missions. As well, minimize fuel stops, aircraft changes, etc. is important in planning stages.While Commercial Medical Escort is a less expensive alternative to traditional air ambulance transport, not everyone is suitable for this type of travel. In-depth pre-planning by your Commercial Medical Escort provider is important.

Once Approved, How Does it Work?

AeroCare case managers work diligently with our medical management team and the patient/family to coordinate EVERY detail once approval for this mode of transport has been obtained. This includes completing Med If’s (Medical Information Forms) that certain airlines require to allow boarding of the patient, as well as ground ambulance/taxi/limo service, wheelchair or stretcher services at each end and during any stops, etc.

If you have any questions about the possibility of utilizing this mode of transport, or how we can help with a traditional air ambulance transport please feel free to call us at 800-823-1911 or email us at