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Etihad apologises after two-hour sale goes off course

Carrier's two-hour sale offering 70 per cent flight discounts stymied by technical difficulties, with many customers unable to access the site.

ABU DHABI // Etihad Airlines has apologised to customers who sought to take advantage of a two-hour flight sale but were unable to book, as huge demand overwhelmed the airline’s website.

The site was out of service for most of the two hours of the sale, between 8pm and 10pm on Wednesday night.

The Abu Dhabi carrier had advertised discounts of up to 70 per cent on flights to Manchester, Frankfurt, Dublin, Athens, Moscow, Bahrain and Muscat.

“Demand exceeded our expectations and, in fact, managed to overwhelm our system,” the carrier said in a statement yesterday.

“We are sorting out these technical issues and apologise to all our customers who were unable to book on Etihad during the sale.”

The airline said it hoped to have another sale soon and advised people who had missed out this time to e-mail their contact details to feedback@etihad.ae.

They would be given priority at the next sale, the airline had said.

Karen, an Abu Dhabi resident who declined to give her surname, said she had checked the prices of flights earlier on Wednesday and had been planning to book a ticket to London.

“I was not expecting the full 70 per cent that was advertised but as there was no clear stipulation on any advertising as to which destinations were included, I was expecting to get some kind of a discount,” Karen said.

“I attempted to log into the site for more than one hour, constantly refreshing multiple browsers, and every time I was confronted with an error message.

“In the end, at around 9.40pm, I was able to get through to the main site but not to the deals page directly.”

Other frustrated customers began to post their disappointment on Twitter almost immediately after the website crashed.

“#Etihad Airways website is still down from last 1 and Half Hours. Super Sale is a failure for the reputation of an amazing airline :(” tweeted gafoorck.

Jaymathur tweeted: “@EtihadDeals I hope you extend the sale time since the website has crashed from 8pm. Deals seems good … if only we get a chance :) #etihad.”

nhanif@thenational.ae

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