We studied 21 patients with known difficult airways who underwent awake tracheal intubation using the LMA CTrach. Patients were given midazolam, atropine, a continuous infusion of remifentanil and topical lidocaine applied to the oropharyx. We limited the number of insertion attempts to three and the time to adjust the view to 5 min. In case of failure, we performed awake fibreoptic tracheal intubation. We found insertion of the device was successful and well tolerated in all patients. Vocal cords could be seen immediately in nine patients and following corrective manoeuvres in 10 patients. Tracheal intubation was successful in 20 patients: 19 cases under direct vision and in one blindly. In one patient with undiagnosed lingual tonsil hyperplasia, tracheal intubation was impossible using the device. No patient had an unpleasant recall of the procedure. We conclude that the LMA CTrach is easy to use, well tolerated and suitable for awake orotracheal intubation in patients with known difficult airways.