Resources for Medical Air Travel
For cancer survivors, distant travel is sometimes necessary to reach a cancer center or hospital for treatment or a second opinion that is not available in their local communities. Various air transport organizations provide free or reduced-cost flights to assist people who need help. The earlier you make your need known, the more likely you are to get help. The following is a partial listing of organizations that provide or coordinate flights for cancer survivors and their families.
Air Care Alliance is a nationwide league of humanitarian flying organizations whose volunteer pilots are dedicated to community service. It provides a central listing of free national and regional air transportation services provided by volunteer pilots and charitable aviation groups who perform public benefit flying for healthcare, patient transport, and other missions of public service. Visit AirCareAlliance.org to find an organization near you or to complete an online form. If you need further assistance, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (888) 260-9707.
Air Charity Network is a national network of regional charitable aviation organizations that provides access for people in need seeking free air transportation to specialized healthcare facilities or distant destinations due to family, community, or national crisis. To locate the Air Charity Network organization that serves your area, call (877) 621-7177 or click on one of the regional links at AirCharityNetwork.org/contact-us. You will automatically be directed to the nearest available resource.
Air Wings For Veterans provides free air and ground transportation for ill, injured, and wounded veterans and their family for medical care or rehabilitation that aids in the healing process. Visit AirWingsForVeterans.org or call (857) 228-4636 for more details.
Along Comes Hope provides support for the families of children with cancer, through financial assistance with travel to get the care they need. For more information visit AlongComesHope.com or call (805) 322-1423.
Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition is a coalition of organizations helping cancer survivors manage their financial challenges. Its website includes a section on transportation assistance listed by cancer type or by regional organizations according to zip code. Visit CancerFAC.org for links.
Children’s Flight of Hope provides free air transportation for medical treatments for seriously ill and injured children. These flights are provided through paid commercial airline tickets for the child and one companion, or through private charter flights. Children’s Flight of Hope contacts the commercial airlines and airport security to make the flight logistics as seamless as possible. On private flights, a family flight liaison offers nonmedical support to the family and the pilot as needed. Submit an online request at ChildrensFlightOfHope.org or call (919) 466-8593.
Corporate Angel Network arranges free travel, using the empty seats on private and corporate jets, for people with cancer, bone marrow donors or recipients, and stem cell donors or recipients who are able to move about and not in need of medical support while traveling to or from an approved cancer treatment center. Eligibility is not based on financial need, and recipients may travel as often as necessary. If seats are available, you may bring an adult companion; children can travel with two adults. Call (914) 328-1313 or visit CorpAngelNetwork.org for more information.
Footprints in the Sky provides free flights to medical facilities throughout the U.S., mainly using donated charter and corporate jets, for people without the financial capability and resources to facilitate air travel. To fill out flight request forms, or for more information, visit FootprintsFlights.org or call (303) 799-0461. A $35 application fee will apply.
Mercy Medical Angels offers free or low-cost transportation for medical evaluation, diagnosis, or treatment, through the air with commercial airline tickets and volunteer pilots and on the ground with gas cards, bus tickets, and train tickets. For more information, call (888) 675-1405 or visit MercyMedical.org.
Miracle Flights flies low-income children who are struggling with serious illness, along with their families, to distant, specialized care centers for treatment or for second opinions. Qualifying families can receive travel assistance for the child and up to two parents or legal guardians. For more information, call (800) 359-1711 or visit MiracleFlights.org.
Contact each organization to obtain specific eligibility requirements. In addition, check with your local cancer treatment center, hospital, or cancer support organizations, as well as commercial airlines, for information about obtaining transportation assistance for cancer survivors and their families. This listing was compiled by Coping’s editors and may not include all air transportation providers or coordinators.
This article was published in Coping® with Cancer magazine, May/June 2018.