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At 9am today, 70,000 people clambered to snatch up the 1000 cheap fares that the airline released to fill seats in response to softening demand thanks to coronavirus fears.
The demand broke all previous Grabaseat records, a spokesperson said.
The $9 one-way fares were launched to all of Air New Zealand’s 20 domestic destinations.
But many Kiwis looking for a deal were left frustrated as the Grabaseat website crashed.
At 9am, the New Zealand Herald visited the site but was unable to get through to a number of the routes, and when the site worked, many were already sold out.
The airline's chief revenue officer, Cam Wallace, said last week Kiwis could get some “ridiculously good deals” on flights across the Tasman, citing one-way fares from $69 on flights from Auckland to Melbourne as an example.
“Like all airlines we have seen some softness in demand on routes like the Tasman where we now have some empty seats due to travellers mainly from Asian destinations not connecting between New Zealand and Australia.
“Kiwis and Aussies are going to be able to head away for holidays or to see family and friends or do business for cheaper than a night’s accommodation at most hotels.
Air New Zealand, Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia have all reduced capacity over the Tasman as a result of coronavirus travel bans and fears over the outbreak but are dropping prices to ensure planes are as full as possible.
Earlier on Sunday, Air New Zealand announced it was halving its flights to Samoa after the island nation insisted that all passengers carry a medical certificate confirming they are fit to travel.
The national airline has cancelled one flight, and reduced its service from six flights to three from Monday after being ordered to do so by the Samoan Government from midnight on Sunday.
It has also cancelled its Auckland-Apia flights scheduled for today, Friday and Sunday.