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Captain’s Choice: Our Australian and Family-Owned Business Marks a Major Milestone

In 2024, Captain’s Choice celebrates 30 years of creating unrivalled travel experiences. As purveyors of private jet and luxury travel, we seek out rare and enriching encounters around the globe – our expertly curated journeys are often unrepeatable. Since the time of our earliest journeys, we have continually evolved, pioneering travel frontiers, and adopting new modes of transport in unexpected ways. Our essence, however, remains an uncompromising drive to bring our guests the rare and the remote. The formation of this desire is inextricably linked to our founder, Phil Asker.

The Captain as Curator

Intent on combining his love of travel with a career from an early age, Phil opened Croydon Travel in 1971. The small suburban travel agency immediately set its sights beyond Australia’s shores, operating its own tour to Fiji within its first year of business. 

While still operating Croydon Travel, Phil began turning his attention to putting together compelling itineraries in, what were then considered to be, remote and exotic destinations. And so, in 1975, he led a tour group into China. This was an ambitious undertaking, given it was long before the country became a common travel destination. Having succeeded there, he followed up with Bhutan in 1977, the Seychelles in 1978, Cuba in 1984 and Vietnam in 1989.

A few years later, John and Helen Ross chartered a Qantas flight to Central Australia to raise money for charity. The pilot, Wayne Kearns, suggested they set their sights a little higher, proposing a chartered international flight in support of their future fundraising endeavours. Aware of Phil’s savvy nature and travel expertise, John approached him to help with logistics and to design his ideal itinerary. 

When asked about the choice of destinations, Phil responded: ‘We have chosen destinations that are the true highlights of their region, places that most travellers would love to visit one day, but places that can be difficult to reach and almost impossible to combine into one tour.’ The tour was a triumph and proved a crowd-puller once word got out, courtesy of some favourable press.

Eyebrows were not the only thing raised as a result of the tour’s success; proceeds from the private jet journey contributed $161,000 to Ronald McDonald House. Once Phil saw how captivated people were by this ambitious style of touring, he resolved to repeat the endeavour.


Private Jet: The Flagship Product

Over the coming years, Captain’s Choice would become renowned for its private jet program. In time, ‘An Indian Odyssey by Private Jet’, together with ‘Around the World by Private Jet’ and ‘Ultimate South America by Private Jet’, among many others, would help gain the business its well-earned reputation for delivering often-unrepeatable itineraries. These private jet journeys would link far-flung destinations along flight paths that commercial airlines rarely, if ever, offered. In addition, these journeys were peppered with exclusive experiences the everyday traveller could not hope to arrange independently. 

Iguassu Falls

Phil had also capitalised on the early success of the private jet program with a series of private train charters. Journeys such as ‘Eastern Europe by Private Train’ took Phil’s vision for the remote and exotic further into the public consciousness and served to establish the brand as the leader in luxury travel. 

Redefining the Remote

Thanks to the pioneering spirit of its founder, and those who have since joined the team, Captain’s Choice has now spent 30 years carefully curating life-enriching journeys on all seven continents. Whether by private jet, heritage rail, luxury cruise ship, or on a series of exhilarating hikes, these journeys offer rare perspectives of their respective regions.

Whether in Europe, Asia, Africa or the Middle East, Captain’s Choice boasts a collection of journeys so in-demand as to be repeat favourites year on year. Never resting on its laurels, however, the team continues to seek out lesser-known corners of the world, inviting further discovery thanks to a raft of included experiences.

The incomparable journeys designed by Captain’s Choice, much like those forged by Phil Asker himself, are born of curiosity, of a yearning to understand our world and the people who inhabit it. We welcome you to celebrate that journey with us.

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