Promotional Air New Zealand return fares to Hawaii from Auckland have plunged below $500, a quarter of what they were before competition started on the route.

The Flight Centre deal for economy seats includes a bag on select dates between September 17 and November 30.

The agent says the competition on the route — which Hawaiian Airlines shook up when it started Honolulu-Auckland services five years ago — meant travel to the islands was much more accessible.

''Once upon a time Hawaii was a bucket list travel destination for Kiwi travellers and only a few years ago a return airfare would have cost more than $2000 per person. Now travellers can grab a return fare for a record low $499 per person ex Auckland,'' said Sean Berenson, Flight Centre NZ general manager product.


"This current level of competition is unprecedented and we can only advise that Kiwis take advantage of this incredibly competitive market place while it lasts."

The fare is on sale until September 17, unless sold out beforehand.

Hawaiian Airlines' entry has dramatically shifted the market, which had slowed as more aircraft flew over the islands since the 1980s.

Since it began flying here, Kiwi arrivals to Hawaii have trebled from just over 20,000 to 68,000 in 2017.

November is a quiet month for travel to Hawaii so Air New Zealand is trying to fill planes. Flight Centre is also likely to have helped push the price to the record low.

Air New Zealand is flying leased Boeing 777s on the Auckland-Honolulu route because up to four of its Dreamliner aircraft have been grounded at any one time due to Rolls-Royce engine problems.

Hawaiian tourism officials are urging visitors to return to the state's Big Island as the Kilauea volcano calms and some gas emissions are the lowest they've been in more than a decade.

The flows - which have expanded the island by the size of 350 rugby fields - had deterred thousands of visitors.


Flight Centre says it is also offering $600 off economy class airfares, or $1500 off premium economy and business class airfares, flying Air New Zealand, to other North and South America destinations including Los Angeles (at $999) and Buenos Aires.

Last week the agent offered return airfares flying Etihad to Dublin return from only $999 per person via Sydney and Abu Dhabi.

How else you could spend $500
•A limited edition Dom Perignon Rose Vintage 2004
•Air NZ's dearest one-way flight to Queenstown on Sept 17 (with $36 change)
•4kg of fresh whitebait from Hawke's Bay