Expert air ambulance travel tips for U.S. citizens. Get advice on getting help from the government, making financial arrangements, traveling with pets & more.
Air medical transport is normally divided into two categories: health emergencies and crisis evacuation. Health emergencies that might require this type of transportation include strokes, heart attacks, high-risk pregnancies, and organ transplants. A crisis evacuation might be used during times of natural disaster, or civil unrest occurring abroad.
If a U.S. citizen needs air ambulance travel tips regarding a health emergency or crisis that takes place overseas, there are half a dozen places where they can go to get the information they are looking for. A brief summary of these tips, additional advice, and practical information can be found below.
Getting help from the government
American citizens looking for help from their government is as simple as going online. A number of branches like the Department of State and the Bureau of Consular Affairs provide specific details about what to do during an emergency or evacuation.
While most people think of military services whenever a medevac is involved, the military is rarely involved in civilian air transportation. Nearly all medevacs used by Americans are privately owned charter jets.
Medical emergencies and overseas crisis situations tend to happen spontaneously. Health and travel insurance coverage might be required in countries outside of the U.S. and Canada, so citizens should alway inquire before traveling. Travelers should also prepare to pay for services upfront — something many Americans will not be accustomed to. Believe it or not, Americans who are instructed by their government to leave a particular country due to unrest are still responsible for making their own financial arrangements. Citizens can, however, request special financial assistance from the Department of State if they are unable to make payments on their own.
Traveling with pets
Americans receiving state or federal medical air assistance are not generally permitted to travel with pets. Private and charter jets providing medical assistance will have rules and regulations about flying with pets. Travelers are encouraged to ask about such policies in advance when possible.
One great way for American citizens to stay informed before, during, and after an international medical flight is to sign up for a program called STEP. This is a free service provided the Bureau of Consular Affairs. News, alerts, and warnings will be emailed directly to travelers that sign up.
Travel documents and passports
Americans are strongly encouraged to travel with the appropriate documents and passports always. This is especially relevant when traveling by air ambulance. Valid proof of citizenship is required for Americans seeking assistance from embassies and consulates abroad.