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How To Get Free Travel And Lodging For A Diagnosis Or For Treatment

Air Transport

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There are a few nonprofit organizations that fly both adults and children for free to obtain a diagnosis or for treatment. Some airlines encourage people to donate mileage which can be used by people with medical needs but financial limitations.

Qualifications vary by organization. At the least, requirements generally include:

  • Financial need.
  • Proof of medical need.
  • Medical clearance to fly.

Most programs require that you be able to walk, sit and stand with little or no assistance, and that you do not have medical needs while in flight.

Amount of time between completion of paperwork and flight depends on the organization. Current range is 5 to 30 business days.

Some services also supply air and/or ground ambulance - though generally not for free.

It is suggested that you have your doctor's contact information available when you make the call (including fax number) as well as fax and/or e mail capability for yourself.

  • Air Care Alliance: a nationwide organization with volunteer pilots. The Alliance includes a central listing of free national and regional air transportation services provided by volunteer pilots and charitable aviation groups. See www.AirCareAll.or offsite linkg or call 888.260.9707
  •, is a nonprofit organization that matches people in need with free flights. See: offsite link or call: 877.621.7177.
  • AirLifeLine, is a nonprofit organization of over 1,500 private pilots. They donate their time, aircraft and fuel. Contact AirLifeLine National Office, at offsite link or Tel. 800.446.1231 or 916.641.7800 (50 Fullerton Court # 200, Sacramento, CA 95825).
  • Angel Flight offsite link. Free flights for cancer patients
  • Cancer Hawk offers a list of organizations that give free airfare to patients with cancer. offsite link
  • Corporate Angel Network:
    • Provides free transportation for cancer patients using the empty seats on corporate jets. If you have a condition other than cancer, it's still worth calling. 
    • You must be able to walk up and down the steps to a private plane without assistance, and do not require oxygen, IV or any other form of life support during the flight. 
    • See: offsite link or call in White Plains, NY: 866.328.1313 or 914.3281313.
  • LifelinePilots: Provides free air transportation on small, private aircraft for health care and other humanitarian needs; 800-822-7972, 309-697-6282, Byerly Terminal, Suite 302, Greater Peoria Regional Airport, 6100 W. Dirksen Parkway,Peoria, IL 61607 Website: offsite link
  • Mercy Medical Airlift lists organizations which provide free transportation, including on a regional basis.. See: offsite link
  • Miracle Flights For Kids flies children who are struggling with serious cancers and debilitating diseases to specialized medical treatment centers across the U.S. Miracle missions are coordinated by purchasing commercial airline tickets for sick children and their parents. See: offsite link or call 800.FLY. 1711
  • National Patient Travel Center, a nonprofit service located in Virginia Beach, Virginia is a clearinghouse that refers people in need of medical treatment to programs that fly people in financial need (and an escort to accompany them) throughout the U.S. Contact the center via offsite link or call: 800.296.1217.
  • Operation Liftoff provides air transport for children with life-threatening diseases to specialized care and treatment centers. See: offsite link or call 314.298.9770
  • Skywish, a combination of Delta Airlines and United Way. Transports people for cancer treatment via miles donated by mileage members. Contact your local United Way or United Way of America, Tel.: 800.UWA.2757. You can find contact information for your local United Way at, click on "Find A United Way."
  • The Volunteer Pilots Association is a charitable nonprofit organization providing air transportation to needy people who must travel to obtain medical treatment. Patients who do not require medical attention during their flight and who can enter and exit the aircraft with only limited assistance are eligible. Contact Volunteer Pilots Association at offsite link, or Tel. 412.221.1374 Email: info at volunteerpilots dot org.

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