Eager New Zealand Warriors fans took just six minutes today to buy out a specially chartered Air New Zealand flight headed to the National Rugby League (NRL) grand final this weekend.
The Warriors will play the Manly Sea Eagles in Sydney this Sunday and flights have been selling out since the team qualified.
Air New Zealand ran its second Grab A Seat deal from 9am, offering a $999 flight and ticket combo to Sydney. The 379-seat flight sold out within six minutes.
It was the second charter the airline has offered and a similar flight sold out within an hour on Sunday, an airline spokesman said.
The airline has also added an extra flight with 168 seats, and freed up another 145 seats by upgrading an aircraft size to try to meet demand.
That meant an extra 1071 league fans could head across the ditch with the airline since Saturday's qualifying match.
There were no plans to run another Grab A Seat charter service, the airline spokesman said.
Qantas is also jumping to meet the extra demand and yesterday announced additional flights and increased capacity out of Auckland.
Acting regional general manager Shirley Field said the company was monitoring demand and could add even more flights.
Jetstar flights from Auckland to Sydney are sold out for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
But Warriors fans heading to Sydney this week could face delays.
The Transport Workers Union will strike on Friday, taking 3800 baggage handlers, ground staff and Qantas employees out of action for an hour.
The strike is expected to disrupt the travel plans of thousands of people heading to Sydney for the NRL grand final and football fans heading to Melbourne for the Australian Football League final.
The union has been negotiating pay agreements since May.
A strike last Tuesday led to Qantas cancelling 28 flights and delaying 27 flights, disrupting more than 6000 passengers.
Qantas group executive Olivia Wirth said the airline was assessing contingency measures.
"This is one of the busiest weekends of the year, with tens of thousands of people travelling around Australia for the football and for the school holidays on Friday alone."
Customs and quarantine staff at airports across Australia are also taking action today.
Thousands of Customs staff will walk off the job for up to two hours in 50 locations across Australia to protest stalled pay negotiations.
At the same time, staff from the Department of Agriculture and Forestry and Fisheries staff will be holding stop-work meetings about their stalled pay negotiations.
- APNZBy Hayley Hannan Email Hayley