Relapsing polychondritis (RP) is a rare disease characterized by recurrent inflammation of cartilaginous and other proteoglycan-rich tissues. Respiratory tract involvement is a common cause of morbidity and mortality in RP. We describe a patient whose clinical features at onset of disease were typical of asthma. Later, the patient developed symptoms and signs characteristic of RP. Tracheobronchomalacia necessitated airway support by stenting. The possibility that airway obstruction in the initial stages of RP is due to airway inflammation and that early, aggressive immunosuppressive treatment of RP may delay or prevent irreversible cartilaginous destruction and airway collapse are discussed.