We performed a randomised, controlled, cross-over study of lung ventilation by Basic Life Support-trained providers using either the Tulip GT® airway or a facemask with a Guedel airway in 60 anaesthetised patients. Successful ventilation was achieved if the provider produced an end-tidal CO2 > 3.5 kPa and a tidal volume > 250 ml in two of the first three breaths, within 60 sec and within two attempts. Fifty-seven (95%) providers achieved successful ventilation using the Tulip GT compared with 35 (58%) using the facemask (p < 0.0001). Comparing the Tulip GT and facemask, the mean (SD) end-tidal CO2 was 5.0 (0.7) kPa vs 2.5 (1.5) kPa, tidal volume was 494 (175) ml vs 286 (186) ml and peak inspiratory pressure was 18.3 (3.4) cmH2O vs 13.6 (7) cmH2O respectively (all p < 0.0001). Forty-seven (78%) users favoured the Tulip GT airway. These results are similar to a previous manikin study using the same protocol, suggesting a close correlation between human and manikin studies for this airway device. We conclude that the Tulip GT should be considered as an adjunct to airway management both within and outside hospitals when ventilation is being undertaken by Basic Life Support-trained airway providers.