We compared the McGrath® Series 5 videolaryngoscope with the Macintosh laryngoscope in a simulated difficult airway, using manual in-line stabilisation in 88 anaesthestised patients of ASA physical status 1-2. The primary outcome was laryngoscopic view. Secondary outcomes included rates of successful tracheal intubation and complications. A Cormack and Lehane grade-1 or -2 view was found in all patients when using the McGrath compared with 45 (51%, p < 0.0001) using the Macintosh laryngoscopes. The mean (SD) percentage of glottic opening was 82 (23)% using the McGrath compared with 13 (23)% using the Macintosh (p < 0.0001). In 66 out of 88 patients (75%), the McGrath improved the glottic view by one to three grades compared with the Macintosh (p < 0.001). Intubation of the trachea was successful in all patients using the McGrath, while the Macintosh was successful in 26 (59%, p < 0.001). There was no significant difference in the complication rates between the devices.