United Airlines faces a class action lawsuit in the US from passengers demanding to be refunded for cancelled flights due to the coronavirus crisis.

United refused to issue cash refunds to passengers with cancelled flights after it slashed it schedules, and instead offered customers travel vouchers, which expire in one year from the original ticket date.

Passengers claim they have lost a total combined amount of $5million in a lawsuit obtained by DailyMail.com.

Minnesota police officer Jacob Rudolph is named as the plaintiff in the documents.

Rudolph, along with the other plaintiffs claim that they are entitled to a refund because the airline cancelled their flights.

“The need for monetary refunds over travel vouchers is pressing now,” the lawsuit states.

“Travel vouchers provide little security in this public crisis, particularly where many individual Americans need money now to pay for basics like food and rent, not restrictive, temporary credits towards future travel.”

The case follows the US Department of Transportation calling on carriers to pay refunds for cancelled flights.

The DoT said it had received “an increasing number of complaints and inquiries from ticket passengers … who describe having been denied refunds for flights that were cancelled or significantly delayed”.

A spokesman said on Monday: “The obligation to provide refunds when scheduled flights are cancelled or significantly delayed applies to US and foreign carriers operating at least one aircraft having a seating capacity of 30 or more seats to, within, or from the United States.”

The department’s Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings Office is charged with “monitoring airlines’ refund policies and practices, and take enforcement action as necessary.

“Enforcement action may include, for example, seeking corrective actions through warning letters or issuing consent orders, which may include fines.”

US carriers are in line for a $50 billion bailout from the US government as part of a $2 trillion support package.  The sum includes $25 billion in loans and loan guarantees from the federal government, and another $25 billion in grants.