Travel FAQ

If you have any questions about traveling with Hope Air, you’ll likely find the answers below. If you’d like to make a travel request, you can do it online 24/7 by clicking here.

Making a Travel Request

You can complete a travel request online or by calling 1-877-346-HOPE (4673).

A travel request should be made as soon as you have a confirmed appointment at the medical facility you need to travel to.
Yes, as long as you consent to this person providing your personal information to Hope Air on your behalf.
  • The date and time of a confirmed appointment at a medical facility.
  • Your referring doctor’s contact information. The contact information of the doctor you are travelling to see for your appointment.
  • Government-issued photo ID for all travellers.
  • Your full name as it appears on your government-issued ID. If you are travelling with an escort, you will also need your escort’s full name as it appears on their government-issued ID.
  • The dates you need to depart and return for your appointment.
  • Information on the incomes of all members of your household to determine your eligibility. This includes income from employment, federal and provincial assistance, and income from other sources. You are not required to submit documentation when you make your travel request, however, once a travel request is made Hope Air may ask you to provide documentation of your household income for eligibility verification.
Once a request has been approved, Hope Air will confirm with your referring doctor that you are medically fit to fly. If you have requested an escort, we will confirm whether or not you medically require one. To avoid any delays in receiving your referring and appointment doctor confirmations, we advise that you have their offices call us with medical clearance. Please review our privacy policy regarding the sharing of medical information with Hope Air for these purposes.
We make every effort to process your request quickly, however, we do contact your referring doctor and your appointment doctor for confirmation of your appointment and that you are medically fit to fly – this can take time. You will receive automated emails from Hope Air as we process your request to keep you updated on what stage we are at in processing your application.
Please call Hope Air at 1-877-346-HOPE (4673) to check on the status of your application. We try to process applications quickly and to keep you informed of where your application is in the process. It is best to have a backup method of transportation in case Hope Air is unable to assist you.
A last minute request for next business day means a patient or social worker calls today to make a travel request for tomorrow or they call on a Friday to make a request for Monday.

The cut off time for PEI is 1pm EST and for the rest of the country the cut off is 4pm EST. This means the travel request should be submitted before that time so we have enough time to process your request.

If you make a request on a Friday for the weekend we will try our best to fulfill it but we cannot guarantee that it will be fufilled.

Please call Hope Air immediately at 1-877-346-HOPE (4673) when your appointment has been changed or cancelled. We understand that changes to your appointment are often beyond your control. If your travel request is not yet complete and you have not received your flight details yet, it is a simple modification.

Please call Hope Air immediately at 1-877-346-HOPE (4673) when your appointment has been changed or cancelled. We understand that changes to your appointment are often beyond your control. If your travel request is not yet complete and you have not received your flight details yet, it is a simple modification.
When making a travel request, please inform Hope Air that you need oxygen on your flight. Once we have booked your flight, you must call the airline to inquire about their requirements for carrying oxygen on the aircraft, and whether you have to purchase it from the airline or if you can bring your own. Hope Air is not able to provide any information on oxygen requirements for specific airlines.
Please inform Hope Air about wheelchairs or assistive devices when making your travel request. Hope Air will notify the airline when booking your flight – there is no need for you to contact the airline about wheelchairs or other assistive devices.
You may be required to pay fees for any checked luggage. Please contact the airline after you have received your flight details for more information.
After you have received your flight details, you can call the airline if you would like to request a specific seat; however, any fees associated with your seat selection fall to you. You can also choose your seat for free once check-in for your flight becomes available, 24 hours before your flight takes off.
Hope Air has a Volunteer Pilot Program (VPP) in which private pilots, approved by Hope Air, fly patients in small private planes rather than on commercial flights. You may indicate on your travel request form if you are interested in a VPP flight. Please note there is limited space for luggage and no bathroom on volunteer pilot planes. Passengers will be required to climb into the plane – please ensure patient/escort mobility.
If you are a resident of Northern Ontario in the districts of Algoma, Cochrane, Kenora, Manitoulin, Nipissing, Parry Sound, Rainy River, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, or Timiskaming, you may qualify for a Northern Health Travel Grant. NHTG-eligible patients who receive flights through Hope Air will be required to submit a completed NHTG application form back to Hope Air. Please note that NHTG eligibility has no bearing on the approval outcome of your travel request. For more detailed information and to see if you are eligible, please visit the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care website.

Information about Hope Air and Travel Requests

To be eligible for free travel services, you must:
  • Have financial needs.
  • Have a confirmed healthcare appointment that is covered by your provincial healthcare plan.
No, Hope Air is a charity that books flights for patients on commercial airlines, or on private airplanes through the Volunteer Pilot Program.
Hope Air offers free flights and accommodations for eligible medical travel, transportation to and from  airport, and a meal subsidy program for patients who are staying overnight in a partnered hotel. Free Confederation Bridge and Northumberland Ferry passes are also available for PEI residents traveling to eligible medical appointments.
The Volunteer Pilot Program is made up of licensed volunteer pilots across the country who fly patients to their appointments in their small, private aircraft. Prior to being assigned a flight with a volunteer pilot, Hope Air will ask you if you are comfortable flying in a smaller aircraft.
We arrange flights throughout Canada, in all 10 provinces, on hundreds of routes.
No, we only provide free flights to non-emergency medical care. We are not able to assist individuals who need to be on a stretcher or who need medical staff traveling with them. You must be able to sit in a regular passenger seat on a commercial aircraft.
Hope Air provides free flights for escorts when requested in the application and when the escort is deemed medically necessary. All individuals 18 years old and under must have an escort accompany them. whose flight is also provided for free.

Travel support involving children may be offered to both parents if required, even if parents are not traveling together. Individuals 19 years old and older may obtain a free flight for an escort to accompany them only when it is deemed medically necessary by their physician.
Unfortunately, we are not able to assist in this matter. Hope Air does not arrange compassionate flights. Our mandate is to assist individuals with travel to and from medical facilities to receive the care they cannot receive in their hometowns.
Unfortunately, we cannot reimburse you for any flight or bus tickets you have purchased.
Currently, Hope Air will consider requests for accommodations for patients driving to their appointment. You are required to fill out a travel request application, even if the request is only for accommodations. You will need to be driving a distance of more than 80 km to be considered. Patients will also require a computer, cell phone, and government-issued photo ID to make an accommodation booking online.

After Your Travel Request is Complete and Your Flights are Booked

If you have any changes to your appointment or travel needs after your flights are booked please contact Hope Air immediately at 1-877-346-HOPE (4673).

Please alert Hope Air immediately if you need to change your flights. All flight changes must be made through Hope Air and not the airline. Unfortunately, we are only able to make changes to flights to accommodate unexpected changes to your medical appointment (for example, if your appointment has been changed, extended, or cancelled). All changes to medical appointments must be verified by Hope Air with the medical facility before any changes to flights can be made.

Hope Air is a charity that uses monetary donations to purchase your flight and we are not exempt from change/cancellation fees and fare increases from airlines. Please note: Hope Air is not able to pay for or reimburse any fees for changes to flights that you make yourself with an airline.
Please alert Hope Air immediately if you need to cancel your flights. All flight cancellations must be made through Hope Air and not the airline. 

Hope Air is a charity that uses monetary donations to purchase your flight and we are not exempt from change/cancellation fees and fare increases from airlines.  If you do not appear for your flight and do not alert Hope Air that you will not be taking your flight, the funds used to purchase your ticket are lost and cannot be recovered.
Unfortunately, we cannot make same-day flight changes. We suggest you go to the airport and ask the airline if there are seats available on an earlier flight that you can be placed on. Please note: Hope Air is not able to pay for the costs of any such flight changes.
Yes, you can make a new request online by filling out the request form or by calling us at 1-877-346-4673.
Please inform Hope Air immediately if your escort cannot complete the journey. However, Hope Air cannot arrange any flights for escorts flying without the patient. The escort will need to make their own return travel arrangements. If the escort’s flights have already been booked, we will change the reservation for the escort’s return flight. If it was deemed medically necessary by your doctor for you to fly with an escort, you will need to find a replacement escort to return home with you.  Hope Air is only able to provide a free flight to the escort.
Your travel details are all managed through the airline, hotel or other partner whose service you are accessing. All patients must plan to follow public health guidelines and specific requirements put in place by these partners.

For more information, visit the website of the airline you are traveling with.
We strongly encourage you to take the following steps before traveling:
  • check with your doctor that it is safe for you to travel and seek appropriate medical advice regarding the risks of traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your doctor is in the best position to advise you on any particular risks that may arise for you in the circumstances;
  • check with your airline to find out more about precautions they are taking and the guidance and requirements they have in place with respect to traveling at this time; and
  • check with your local or provincial health authorities for more information about local and regional developments, including any potential inter-provincial border restrictions or travel prohibitions that may impact your travel plans.

PEI Bridge & Ferry Passes

Hope Air has partnered with Health PEI to offer free Confederation Bridge toll or Northumberland Ferry passes for eligible PEI residents (with a valid PEI Health Card) requiring out-of-province transport by private vehicle for medical services in another province.
To be eligible to receive a free Confederation Bridge toll pass, you must:  
  • Have financial needs.
  • Have a confirmed healthcare appointment that is covered by your provincial healthcare plan.
  • Have received a letter from Health PEI confirming that you require out-of-province medical care.  Please see your health provider for information on obtaining this letter.
Complete the Travel Request form online, indicating in the relevant section that this request is for a bridge toll pass. When your request has been approved, Hope Air will send you a bridge toll pass that is valid for one round trip to the email address provided in your application.

Accommodations

Hope Air offers free overnight accommodations for eligible patients traveling to medical appointments and for approved travel companions/escorts.
Hope Air has partnerships with select hotels in the cities where our patients travel. We will always try to book a convenient location near your treatment centre.
To be eligible to receive a free accommodations, you must:
  • be in financial need (as per Hope Air’s assessment)
  • have a confirmed medical appointment that is covered by your provincial healthcare plan
  • have a credit card for a security deposit upon check-in at the hotel
  • valid form of government ID
  • You will be able to stay in the accommodations for up to a maximum of five nights.
  • If you are entitled to accommodation for support through a government agency or program, the free accommodations through Hope Air are not available.
  • While accommodations are available in many centres across Canada, an approved request for accommodations is not a guarantee that there will have a suitable stay available for you with the appropriate dates, location, and accessibility requirements.
  • Accommodations are non-transferrable and valid only for the individuals, dates, and location of the corresponding approved Hope Air travel requests.
Submit a travel request online by clicking here or by calling 1-877-346-HOPE (4673). If your travel request is approved, you will be asked to provide additional details to ensure we can book a place that meets all of your needs.
Hope Air will try to book accommodations that are conveniently located to your appointment or treatment location. Please note that the availability of accommodations can vary depending on the travel dates and city.
You may be eligible for free accommodations if your residence is 80 km or more from your medical centre. You don’t need to receive other assistance from Hope Air (e.g., bridge and ferry passes or flights) to apply for these accommodations.
We are able to accommodate medical escorts and dependent children for up to 2 beds total maximum per night. Please indicate who is staying with you when you fill out your travel request with Hope Air.
Unfortunately, we cannot reimburse you for any accommodations you have purchased.
If you need to change or cancel an accommodation, please contact Hope Air as soon as possible so we can change it on your behalf. If the change is not due to a medical reason, Hope Air will review the situation on a case-by-case basis.

Hope Rides

Hope Air will provide patients (and escorts) with free or discounted car transportation from your home to departing airport and from your arrival airport to your hospital or hotel and back. Digital vouchers will be provided through the Uber Ride platform to patients. You need the Uber app on your mobile phone to take advantage this program.

You will receive an email from Uber, prior to your departure date, confirming you have an Uber voucher(s) that can be used on the dates of your departure and return.

The voucher can only be redeemed through the Uber App that must be downloaded on a mobile device prior to using the voucher. In order to activate the Uber account, a valid credit card must be entered in the account settings. 

Each voucher has a maximum value of $80.00 that can be used for your Uber rides. Your Uber fares will be charged directly to Hope Air up to the maximum voucher limit.

A gratuity is not required as part of your Hope Air / Uber trip.

Yes – each voucher will have a maximum cash value of $80.00 total to cover the cost from your home to departing airport and from your arrival airport to hospital or hotel and back home.

The cost of an Uber ride will vary depending upon the city. The Hope Air voucher provided to you through Uber, will cover all or the majority of the fare. 

Should the total roundtrip fare exceed the Uber voucher limit, you are responsible for the payment of the excess fare amount.  The excess fare amount, if any, would be automatically charged to your credit card that needs to be stored in your Uber app.

A gratuity is not required as part of your Hope Air / Uber trip.

This service is delivered through the Uber car transportation network and is available at all major Canadian airports. Uber serves Canadian cities including Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax

You can schedule Uber rides to pick you up and drop you off at your departing airport and upon landing through the Uber Ride application.

Upon landing at the arrival airport, and after collecting your bags, you can order your Uber pick-up at airport through the App. Once you confirm your pick-up, there will be clear instructions on where to meet the car at the airport. Usually, this will be outside of the arrivals level of the airport, with a clear designated area, marker or curb area.

If you are unable to locate your Uber car after ordering, the Uber driver may call you to explain where to meet the car. You can also message the driver on the Uber app to ask for help.

Follow this process to book your return Uber ride whether you are leaving from Hospital or Hotel to return to the airport. You will be asked to confirm the specific address for pick-up by the Uber driver.

There may be occasions where demand for Uber rides exceeds available drivers. In such circumstances, the patient would need to use alternative transportation, such as a train (where available) or taxi service. These alternative transportation modes are not subsidized by Hope Air at this time.

The voucher can only be used by the patient on the day(s) of travel confirmed by Hope Air. The voucher is restricted to transportation from home to departing airport and arrival airport to hospital or accommodation and back home. Patient escorts may travel with the patient through this program. The voucher may not be assigned, transferred, or sold to anyone else. Vouchers will automatically expire and be null and void if not used on the days confirmed by Hope Air.

The value of the Hope Air Uber voucher is based upon patients ordering the UberX class of service, which is the most common Uber ride option, as well as most affordable. UberX rides typically can transport up to 4 people plus luggage.
No. Gratuities are not required as part of the voucher program

All Uber drivers are required by Uber to maintain certain safety standards. All Uber drivers are background checked before their first trip with the company, including being checked for driving violations, impaired driving, crime and other checks. Uber rescreens drivers every year.

Uber drivers are also required by Uber to comply with certain health and safety protocols relating to the Covid-19 pandemic, as recommended by local, provincial or federal health authorities.

Uber offers its riders various safety programs and features that can be enabled with the App.  Please visit the Uber Rider Safety information site here.

Uber maintains commercial auto insurance in case of a covered accident, including at least $1 million in liability insurance on behalf of drivers once a ride is accepted?

No. Uber operates as an autonomous independent company. All terms and conditions relating to an Uber ride are set by Uber and accepted by a rider. Hope Air only provides free or discounted Uber ride vouchers to assist patients with car transportation from and to airport.

This program is operated by Uber independently of Hope Air.  Hope Air is not involved in the selection of Uber vehicles or drivers.  Hope Air assumes no responsibility or liability of any kind relating to your Uber ride, and you understand that there are inherent risks in all forms of transportation including Uber car service from and to Airports.  You are under no obligation to use the Uber service as part of your Hope Air travel support.

Hope Air is reviewing other alternative ground transportation options from and to airports such as train service available from and to international airports in Vancouver and Toronto. Availability of these ground transportation options will be confirmed at a later date.
Part of Hope Air’s mandate is to eliminate or alleviate the financial burden and stress for families in need, when travelling long distance to reach specialized medical care. Historically, Hope Air has offered programs relating to air travel and accommodation as part of this effort. Providing free or discounted car transportation to and from airport provides additional, meaningful, financial relief for families and individuals travelling with Hope Air.

Other ground transportation programs may exist in specific cities across Canada.  Only Hope Air provides an integrated national program that combines air, hotel, meals and airport ground transportation service for families in need. 

Hope Meals

Hope Air provides free dining or meal vouchers for patients (excluding escorts) staying overnight in a city, as part of Hope Air travel assistance for medical care and is available in most Canadian cities.

For select hotels including The Holiday Inn, Vancouver, and Chelsea Hotel, Toronto, a meal voucher or credit will be provided to you upon check-in. This voucher provides you with free in restaurant or in-room dining at a maximum value of $40.00 per day.

Hope Air is billed directly for your meal expenses, up to the daily maximum value.  Meal purchases that you make at the hotel in excess of $40.00 will be your responsibility to pay upon check-out.

Hope Air also provides Uber Eats vouchers that can be redeemed through the Uber Eats app for patients staying overnight in hotels where our in-hotel meal voucher program is unavailable.

Yes – each voucher will have a maximum cash value of $40.00 per trip to or from airport to hospital or accommodation in the arrival city. Should the actual cost exceed the voucher value, the patient will be responsible for paying the difference in fare via their credit card or debit card entered into the Uber app. Hope Air will review the voucher values on an ongoing basis and adjust the same if required.

In cities where meal vouchers are not available at the hotel you are staying, you can receive a voucher for Uber Eats.

You will need the Uber App installed on your mobile phone to take advantage of the Uber Eats voucher program.

You will receive an email from Uber, prior to your departure date, confirming that you have an Uber Eats voucher(s) that can be used on specific dates of your medical travel.

Each voucher has a maximum value of $40.00 per day.  Uber Eats enables you to order meals from local restaurants in the area of your stay, that will be delivered to the lobby of your hotel.    

Your Uber Eats bill will be charged directly to Hope Air up to the maximum voucher limit.

Once you receive an email with your Uber Eats voucher, follow the instructions to redeem the voucher within the Uber App.

No gratuity is required as part of your voucher

Your Uber voucher can only be used on the designated dates assigned by Hope Air as part of your medical travel. The vouchers cannot be assigned or sold to a third party.

No. This voucher is intended to support the costs of dining while travelling for medical care
No. The voucher is for the exclusive use by the patient
The patient will be responsible for any charges incurred while dining in excess of the voucher value.
The voucher can only be used by the patient on the day(s) of travel confirmed by Hope Air. The voucher may not be assigned, transferred, or sold to anyone else. Vouchers will automatically expire and be null and void if not used on the days confirmed by Hope Air. Vouchers are provided for a maximum of 2 days.
No – Gratuity will automatically be billed to Hope Air
Unfortunately, vouchers cannot be replaced.

Gas Card Program

Patients who are eligible for the bridge/ferry pass through Hope Air’s travel program are eligible for the gas card. Please visit hopeair.ca/travelrequest to apply!
Once your travel request has been processed, you will receive an email with a link that will bring you to your virtual Esso gas card. You can print this gas card, or download it to your phone.
If your appointment has been cancelled/rescheduled and you have received your bridge/ferry pass and gas card, please call client care at: 1877-346-4673 x 1
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