Mark Harnden aka Captain Jock with his grandchildren

Captain Jock’s advice

by Ann van Engelen

Springfield resident Mark Harnden, aka Captain Jock, decided to put his travelling experiences to good use for others by writing his book The Beginner’s (Idiot’s) Guide to Long-Haul Flights.

“Originally from Scotland, I joined the Merchant Navy when I was 16 years old. I had a break and my wife, and I have owned several hospitality businesses. I am now a merchant navy captain, so get flown around the world to join my ship, where ever she may be and have found ways to make the experience enjoyable. Most people find long-haul flights far from pleasurable with busy airports, long queues, security checks and cramped seating with average food,” says Mark.

“I have become very observant of the fickle, sometimes-erratic and often-humorous behaviour of thousands of fellow passengers. You often rush through an airport to make a connection, only to find yourself sitting squashed between two people you would normally avoid at all costs. This little book will guide you step by step from booking flights to enabling you to perhaps spread out on an extra seat or two where you can relax and at least escape with your sanity and arrive at your destination less stressed.

“My wife Elena and I built our home in Springfield three years ago, and when I am here, I drive a jet boat for Alpine Jet Thrills on the Waimakariri River. With all my world travels, there is no place like home.

The Beginners (Idiot’s) Guide to Long-Haul Flights is available for Kindle at and hard copies can be ordered at