Tracheal extubation is a high-risk phase of anaesthesia. The majority of problems that occur during extubation and emergence are of a minor nature, but a small and significant number may result in injury or death. The need for a strategy incorporating extubation is mentioned in several international airway management guidelines, but the subject is not discussed in detail, and the emphasis has been on extubation of the patient with a difficult airway. The Difficult Airway Society has developed guidelines for the safe management of tracheal extubation in adult peri-operative practice. The guidelines discuss the problems arising during extubation and recovery and promote a strategic, stepwise approach to extubation. They emphasise the importance of planning and preparation, and include practical techniques for use in clinical practice and recommendations for post-extubation care.