SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Suzanne Brooks still has her file from 1996 with an offer from United Airlines to join its Silver Wings Plus program for seniors. Showing us her membership card, she says the program cost $225 and was supposed to give her 10% off most published fares for her and a companion for the rest of her life.
“I thought this is a good deal. I can live a long time. I can fly anywhere,” she recalled thinking.
CBS13 has learned United stopped taking on new life members in 2005. Now, Suzanne says she can’t find any Silver Wings discounts on the United website, no matter which flights she plugs in. She claims she called United to be told there are no discounts anywhere in the world.
“There’s a lot of folks who joined this program on fixed incomes,” said Kansas City Attorney John Edgar.
He filed a class action lawsuit against United saying, “Despite having received millions of dollars in membership fees, United Airlines….wholly failed to provide to provide Silver Wings Plus lifetime members the promised membership benefits.” He wants United to honor the discount and refund seniors what they paid to join the program.
“I have not heard one experience from anybody received a discounted airfare or zone fares all from United,” he said.
We wanted to know how many seniors are in the program and how many are receiving the Silver Wings Plus discount. United could not provide us those numbers. We were told those discounted Silver Wings fares are created one year ahead of time and “regular fares fluctuate on seasonality, demand and competition. We always offer customers the lowest fare for which they’re eligible. If Silver Wings members don’t find an additional discount, we are offering fares at a lower discounted price.”
United Airlines did give CBS13 some examples of Silver Wings discounts over the phone, but we could not independently verify any of the discounts mentioned.
Unable to get her discount, doesn’t sit well with Suzanne who says she paid for a lifetime of savings.
“They got millions of dollars from senior citizens and they’re defrauding everyone,” she said