Sick on vacation – organizing return transport from abroad yourself

Organize return transport of the sick from abroad yourself

Vacation is coming up: The suitcase is packed, last purchases are made and the anticipation of relaxing weeks is huge. The term "vacation" is usually associated with positive things, and it is easy to forget that you yourself or a friend or family member could become seriously ill or have an accident during the vacation period. If the medical standards in the foreign hospitals are then still so poor that treatment in the home country is necessary, a way must be found quickly to fly back home.

There are two ways to organize a medically accompanied return transport of the patient:

1. Via the insurance company (if insurance has been taken out)

2. About a private return service

Medical return transport: What does the insurance cover?

Many people turn to their insurance in such urgent situations. Depending on the insurance cover you have taken out, the insurance company will either pay part of the return costs or all the costs incurred for return transport from abroad. Prerequisite for the assumption of the entire costs is the "medically necessary" or in some cases the "medically reasonable" repatriation, which is individually assessed by the respective insurance providers. And here is the problem: The ideas of many insurance companies about the necessity of the repatriation often do not coincide with those of the persons concerned, whereby the complete assumption of costs on the part of the insurance companies often does not take place. As a rule, the decision-making process about a return transport takes a lot of time with the insurance companies – however, in emergencies, it is necessary to act quickly and find a short-term solution.

Return transport without insurance

In such cases – or if you have not taken out an insurance policy in advance – you can also organize a return patient transport yourself with the help of a private return service such as Ambulance Flight Center, a global air ambulance company.

But how exactly does the organization of a return transport from abroad work??


You contact a repatriation service of your choice, tell them your situation and give them some relevant information in order to get an indicative price for the repatriation. Some repatriation services offer free phone numbers on their website or even a direct and personal contact via chat. So you can decide for yourself from the outset how you want to get in touch with the repatriation service.


If everything fits and you confirm the offer, the return service prepares the patient transport from abroad. If you also need transportation in an ambulance or rescue vehicle, for example, to get from the clinic to the airport, this additional service can be booked with most return services. As soon as the return service has completed all preparations for the ambulance flight, you will receive a flight plan in which you can read the most important information of the return medical transport.


If you have ordered ground transport to the airport, the return team will take you or your loved one in an ambulance to the airport, where the air ambulance is usually already waiting for you on the tarmac. The air ambulance takes off immediately – a doctor and a paramedic accompany you during the entire flight and take care of your well-being. The immediate proximity of the medical crew has the advantage that they can intervene immediately if your health deteriorates.

Once you arrive at your destination airport, another ambulance or rescue vehicle will be waiting to take you to the hospital immediately.

It is always an advantage to know in advance how to react in such situations – as you can see, a return transport also works without the help of an insurance provider. You should definitely consider the second option described in this blog, if the insurance company does not cover the full cost or takes too much time for the decision of a return medical transport.

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