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How to Activate an Air Ambulance: A Guideline to Get You the Help You Need

Activate and air ambulance

We don't like to think about illness or injury while we are travelling, but if you are taking a trip, an air ambulance offers a patient transport to a medical centre for treatment. These aircraft are equipped to provide emergency medical care on board and have become increasingly popular as the connective range has improved and access to remote areas.

These services also help patients mitigate the risk of high medical costs in another country and help them return home for treatment. It also assists a patient upgrade the level of care they are receiving.

But, how do you activate the service? What process will you need to go through to get an air ambulance to where you are, and what information will you need to provide them?

Universal Air Evac looks at the process of getting the help you need and what you need to have with you to help streamline the process.

What is the Process You Need to Follow?

Whether you have been involved in an accident, or gotten ill on a business or leisure trip, the process is very much the same to get the help you need. The first thing you need to do is seek immediate medical assistance and then contact your travel insurer.

Universal Air Evac is a go-to solution for air ambulance services and is readily available in an emergency. We also provide medical escort services, so if you need someone to fly with you on a commercial airline, they will be able to help.

Here are the steps:

Step 1:

For Air Ambulance or Commercial Medical Escort quotations, contact Universal Air Evac on:
- 24-hours telephone: +27 11 430 1777
- 24- hour email:

Step 2:

Advise the patient location and destination. Give as much details as you can about the location, i.e. the street address and the name of the health facility.

Step 3:

If you require ground ambulances to be included in the quote, try to provide the company with the referring and receiving hospitals. This will make it as accurate as possible for the air ambulance to provide you with a quote.

Step 4:

Advise whether a travel companion is expected to accompany the patient. Remember, space is limited in aircraft, so the company will need to know who is coming with.

What Information Do You Need to Provide?

Now that you have given us the information we need and have accepted the quote for the services, it's time to give us the information we need.

This is what you will need to provide:

  • The patient’s full name as it appears on their passport; a copy of the passport will need to be sent to
  • The full name as it appears on their passport and a copy of the passport of any travel companion accompanying the patient.
  • The patient’s gender, age, date of birth, nationality, height and weight.
  • Diagnosis and current medical report.
  • Contact information of the current treating medical facility and local doctor name and contacts. These will likely be contacted by the relevant governmental authorities, so please ensure that they are available.
  • Current location: Hospital (street address), city and country.
  • Contact information of the receiving medical facility and the receiving doctor's name and contacts.
  • The destination of the patient, including the hospital (street address), city and country.

What Other Details and Documentation Do I Need?

Here you will need clearance from the facility that you are going to. If you are being admitted to a hospital in South Africa, you will need:

  • An acceptance letter from the receiving doctor on their letterhead.
  • A completed Traveller Questionnaire for each traveller as requested by the SA Department of Health.
  • If applicable, a valid vaccination certificate.

It is also important to note that from time to time, and depending on the patient profile, it may be necessary to obtain a 21-day travel history. This is usually the case if you have been travelling to high-risk zones, but Universal Air Evac will advise accordingly should this be required.

What Can I Bring?

It is important to know that patients and travel companions are only permitted to carry one article of luggage. This should not exceed the size of an overnight travel/carry-on type bag.

Remember, space is crucial in the air, so take as little as possible.

Companies like Universal Air Evac cannot be held responsible for luggage or items that remain behind due to space restrictions.

The Bottom Line

Should you be travelling, keep the details of Universal Air Evac handy, together with this guide. It could help you save time, money and even your life should you find yourself in a bad situation in another country.