For 40 years, we’ve transported thousands of people to medical care — and now we’re eager to help you.
Although Angel Flight West responds to a wide variety of needs, flights are generally for passengers who can’t afford airline tickets, or for whom travel by land or by commercial airline would pose a physical hardship.
Other viable flight situations include passengers with compromised immune systems or who live in remote areas without access to commercial transportation.
The following is a list of the most common types of missions flown:
Flights for patients traveling to and from medical treatment. Patients with any medical condition who are ambulatory, medically stable, and can fly in a non-pressurized aircraft are accepted unless that condition would make flying a health risk.
Flights to bring transplant recipients to hospitals for organ transplants and living donors. These missions are accepted on a limited basis due to the time constraints and the distances involved.
Flights for persons traveling for compassionate reasons such as, but not limited to, travel to provide caregiving for an ill family member or friend, and travel to visit a seriously or terminally ill family member.
Flights for children and adults going to a variety camps—including burn survivors, children with diabetes, families impacted by HIV or AIDS, children who are cancer patients or cancer survivors, and many others.
Flights that enable domestic violence survivors to move to a safer location.
Flights for active-duty military personnel, in situations where the military cannot provide that assistance. In some situations, we may be able to assist with longer-distance travel via commercial airline.
Flights to transport blood, blood products, organs and/or tissue to and from hospitals or other agencies.
After floods, earthquakes and other disasters, AFW can dispatch a large number of aircraft to the disaster scene to help relocate displaced residents, to transport small rescue-type cargo and/or relief supplies, and to transport rescue workers and/or rescue dogs.
Most AFW flights are provided by our network of 1,800 volunteers—talented private pilots who fly their own or rented airplanes and generously donate the costs of the flight to our cause. For trips to and from Alaska and Hawaii, we work closely with our commercial airline partners.
Angel Flight West passengers will never be charged for any service. Your flights are cost-free and will be scheduled to accommodate your medical appointment. And you can travel with us as many times as you need.
On the ground, if necessary and available, our Earth Angels will transport you to a nearby airfield, where a pilot will then fly you to a treatment facility, or to a conveniently located relay point where you’ll be greeted by other pilots for the second or third leg of your trip.
Our flights are typically in small, private planes that allow us to more easily collect passengers in remote or rural areas. Your Angel Flight West experience is just for you and your personal travel companions.
After your medical appointment, another Earth Angel and an Angel Flight West volunteer pilot will make sure you’re safely picked up and brought home.
Criteria and Restrictions
If you have questions, please call 888-426-2643, or review our FAQs.
Angel Flight West provides air transportation within and across only 12 Western States: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
Maximum distance of 900 miles
Because of the limited resources of our volunteer pilots, flight distance traveled can be no more than 900 miles in each direction.
Flying from Alaska & Hawai’i?
In addition to the volunteer private pilots who donate flights, Angel Flight West has a partnership with Alaska Airlines to provide transportation within Alaska and Hawai’i, as well as flights for residents of Alaska who need medical treatment in the Lower 48 and people in Hawai’i seeking care on the mainland.
Alaska Airlines is a generous donor and provides hundreds of tickets to help patients get to necessary medical treatment. If you live in Alaska or Hawai’i and need help getting to medical treatment, please call our office at 888-4-AN-ANGEL.
For originating from other states, please contact one of the other organizations in the Air Care Alliance.
The Air Care Alliance website provides an automated, easy-to-use referral system for volunteer-flown long-distance air transportation or air ambulance resources.
Please contact your pilot/Earth Angel and the AFW office at (310) 390-2958 during regular business hours – 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM Pacific Time, Monday through Friday – or (800) 413-1360 after hours – and send an e-mail to [email protected] right away.
We understand plans can change — however, if avoidable, please do not wait until the last minute to cancel your flight. We do not want our pilots to fly to pick you up if doing so could have been prevented. We aspire to direct our pilots’ time and resources only to people in need.
Please do not bring a companion without telling staff and your pilot in advance. Unexpected guests can cause serious problems for flight, as weight balance is extremely critical on a small aircraft, and your pilot may not be able to accommodate the additional passenger. Even minor changes can greatly impact the safety and success of our missions if we and the pilot are not aware of them. Additionally, there are documents that must be completed prior to the flight.
We understand plans can change, so please contact the office right away at (310) 390-2958 during regular business hours – 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM Pacific Time, Monday through Friday – or (800) 413-1360 after hours – and send an e-mail to [email protected]
We will need to inform your pilots (if you already have pilots assigned to your flights) and/or secure new pilots. Please always inform us of changes to your plans — such as adding or changing companions, travel dates, or origin and destination locations. Even minor changes can greatly impact the safety and success of our missions if we and the pilot are not aware of them.
We fly every day of the week. We can fly on holidays, as well – some pilots have more free time to fly missions on holidays, although other pilots may be busier during these times. If you need to travel on a holiday or holiday weekend, we encourage you to submit your request.
In general, our pilots do not fly very early in the morning or when it is dark out. Flight times depend on the time of your appointment, how long your appointment should last, and the distance you are traveling.
If you are traveling a short distance, and if your appointment is not expected to last many hours, we can typically fly you round-trip on the same day. The farther you have to fly, and the longer your appointment is, the more likely you may have to spend one or more nights away.
If a mission is over 300 miles, we will generally split it into a two- or three-leg relay. Depending on the speed of their aircraft, the majority of our pilots fly only shorter distances. This means for a one-way flight you will have two or three pilots who split the distance at designated handoff points.
A two-leg relay is typically between 4-6 hours and a three-leg relay is typically between 6-8 hours. This does not include time spent changing planes on the ground.
If the mission is a short, two-leg relay, you may be able to fly in the morning of your appointment, if you schedule it in the afternoon, and then fly home the following day. You can also fly in the day before your appointment, if you schedule it for early morning the following day, and then fly home after the appointment. However, timing all depends on how long your appointment should last.
If the mission is a three-leg relay, you will need a travel day on either side of your appointment. Keep in mind that a three-leg relay means a long day of traveling and changing planes, and can be challenging for some passengers.
Once all personal and flight details have been finalized, we’ll submit your flight request to a private board our pilots see when they log into our secure system. As soon as a pilot has signed up for your mission, we’ll accept their request and assign the mission.
We will then send you, your requester (if you have one), and your pilot an e-mail with the itinerary — which includes your pilot’s contact information. Shortly after they have been assigned the mission, you should expect to hear from your pilot to discuss all flight-related details. Although you are also welcome to reach out to your pilot directly if you have any questions, it’s best to wait a little while to give them time to coordinate details on their end.
Unfortunately, we are unable to provide a definitive timeline as to when you will be notified we have found you a pilot. Additionally, there may be times when we won’t be able to secure a pilot until the day before your flight. We understand this can cause some anxiety, but we do our best to find you a pilot as soon as we can. Since our pilots are volunteers, we have to consider they too have their own personal and professional schedules. This is another reason why having a back-up plan is helpful so you know you will be able to either get to your appointment a different way or reschedule, if need be.
Yes – we arrange flights for victims of domestic violence to relocate to a safer location. Please keep in mind we mostly only fly within the 12 Western states, but we will approve requests outside our territory on a case-by-case basis. For safety reasons, you must currently be in a domestic violence shelter in order for us to fly you in a private aircraft, and we need paperwork filled out by an advocate or social worker at the shelter.
You do not have to be in a domestic violence shelter if we will be flying you commercially (this applies mainly to passengers flying to or from Alaska). We do need to confirm the request from a provider of domestic violence services (i.e. shelter, women’s clinic, or police department,).
A medical release signed by a physician is required for anyone who has a known medical condition, has suffered recent injuries. Passengers who are more than five months pregnant, or have a high-risk pregnancy may not fly with our pilots, but some flights may be arranged on a commercial airline.
We generally need a minimum of 7 days, in order to have enough time to process any necessary paperwork and secure a pilot. In some urgent situations, we may be able to arrange a flight with less advance notice. Please contact the office to inquire if your needs are urgent.
No. Angel Flight West arranges transportation only within the 12 Western states, including Alaska and Hawaii. We cannot arrange flights outside of the U.S. If your destination falls outside our service area, we may be able to arrange a flight that connects you to a flight provided by another Angel Flight organization.
Due to the small size of the aircraft flown by our pilots, flights are limited to 900 miles in each direction. Longer flights are usually broken up into segments of about 300 miles each. A flight that is around 900 miles long would be done in 3 separate planes and take about 6-8 hours of flying time, not including time spent on the ground changing planes. A travel day on either side of your appointment would be necessary.
Yes, we can arrange “compassion flights” for individuals who need to visit, or be a caregiver for, a critically ill family member. We also arrange flights to relocate survivors of domestic violence, to transport children and adults to camps for a variety of special needs (such as burn survivors and families impacted by HIV or AIDS), and to fly support staff and supplies during natural disasters or other crises.
We accept these kinds of requests on a case-by-case basis.
We provide flights to and from hospitals and other medical facilities for people requiring treatment for all medical conditions. In some cases, we also arrange flights for organ transplants – for the organ recipient, organ donor, and for the organs themselves.
For safety reasons, we do not fly women who are over five months pregnant or women with high-risk pregnancies.
Please note this does not apply to women who are travelling commercially with us. However, a medical release signed by your physician is required in order for us to fly you.
We are not an air ambulance, and we do not provide any medical support on board. We require all our passengers be medically stable, to be able to walk, and to be able to sit up in a seat with a seatbelt fastened.
You will mostly be flying in a small, private aircraft that has 4-6 seats. In order to board the aircraft, you may have to step up onto a wing that is 16-20 inches above the ground, crouch slightly to fit through a small door, and then lower yourself into the back seat. If you or one of your companions cannot perform these movements, that person will not be able to fly with us.
Click here to access a video that will show you what it is like to travel in a general aviation aircraft.
We have a number of volunteer drivers (Earth Angels), and we encourage you to submit a request for ground transportation if you need it. We are currently working on expanding our Earth Angel program to provide ground transportation for our passengers in all states in which we fly. However, please know that, at this time, we have far fewer Earth Angels than we do pilots, and it is important you have a plan to get to and from the airport and/or your treatment facility if we are unable to secure an Earth Angel for you. We may be able to arrange an Uber or Lyft for you. Please ask a staff person about this option.
Please do not contact any pilots who have flown you in the past to ask if they can fly you again. All flight requests should be brought to staff, and staff will contact pilots about new flight requests accordingly. Contacting a pilot directly may make them feel pressured or uncomfortable.
Please check with your pilot in advance if you want to bring food and beverages on board. Some pilots may not want you to.
No. We generally need a minimum of seven days to work on securing pilots for a flight.
You may apply to take as many flights as you need, as per your doctor’s recommendation. Commercial airline options maybe be limited annually.
There are no costs of any kind to fly with us. Our volunteer pilots fly their own private or rented aircraft and pay for fuel and for all other flight-related expenses. Our pilots donate their time, resources, and piloting skills to make critically needed travel possible without any cost to you.
Your flight is likely to take place, however it is essential you have a back-up plan or the ability to reschedule your appointment. We cannot guarantee our flights will always happen, and we may need to cancel due to weather, mechanical problems, or the inability to secure a volunteer pilot. Most of the time we do find pilots—however, when bad weather hits or mechanical problems prevent your pilot from flying, there is not much we can do.
Unfortunately, we do not. Our limited resources do not allow us to arrange flights for funerals.
Yes, you may travel with a companion. However, as weight is extremely critical on a small aircraft, staff must approve any companions traveling with you before the day of the flight. It is in your favor to bring only one companion, as many of our pilots cannot accommodate three or more passengers.
Please do not bring a companion without telling staff and your pilot in advance. Unexpected guests can cause serious problems, and your pilot may not be able to accommodate the additional passenger.
The flight will be in a small, private aircraft (4-6 seats), and the amount of weight it can carry is far more limited than would be expected of a large commercial jet. You must limit your luggage to a maximum of 25 lbs per person. Luggage must be soft-sided, and no larger than what would be allowed on a commercial aircraft as a carry-on.
Total baggage weight should not exceed 50 lbs between all passengers. Additional equipment, such as supplemental oxygen, wheelchair, or car seat, can generally be accommodated if you let us know in advance.
Yes, you may bring supplemental oxygen on board, but we need to be aware of this with as much advance notice as possible. We need to know the number of tanks you will be bringing, as well as their dimensions and total weight.
We do not have set restrictions on the amount you may bring, as long as the total weight between your oxygen and personal belongings does not exceed 25 lbs (maximum overall baggage weight allowance for more than one passenger is 50 lbs). Our pilots will determine whether their aircraft can accommodate the mission, considering the overall weight and number of passengers planning to travel. Many times oxygen is provided to you by an oxygen concentrator. Please be aware you may need extra batteries for longer trips as many aircraft will not have an outlet to charge your unit.
Please note that the pilot cannot provide supplemental oxygen.
Don’t see your question? Send us an email, we usually respond within 24 hours.
Answer these brief qualification questions before we schedule your flight.
If you have flown with Angel Flight West in the past, please call the office at (310) 390-2958 to schedule your next flight.