Airlines around the world are updating their cancellation policies as the COVID-19 crisis unfolds. Most airlines are rolling out refund policies that are pretty fair. However, some passengers are finding that promised refunds are a little bit harder to come by once they actually place a call or complete forms online. The reality is that both airline employees and digital systems are trying to keep up with the changes. Let's talk about what you need to know if an airline refuses to issue you a refund.

Perseverance may be needed if it feels like an airline is giving you the runaround. Start by making sure all of your documentation is in order. Have flight numbers, reservation numbers, dates, times and conversation logs close by before making a call.

You can follow some best practices for placing effective calls to customer lines. It's smart to try to call during times of the day when call volume is lower if you want to receive dedicated attention from a representative. That might mean staying up late to make a call if an airline has a 24-hour line. On another note, you should keep in mind that many airline representatives are adjusting right along with the rest of us. They are being asked to understand and enforce new and changing policies around the clock. Try your best to be polite and courteous to ensure that tensions and emotions don't make it difficult to get your message across.

Social media may be a good outlet for getting seen by an airline. Most airlines routinely respond to complaints on Facebook and Twitter. Be as clear and accurate as possible when making your case. Of course, it helps to cite Department of Transportation (DOT) policies when getting your point across. You may find that a direct message pops up from an airline representative!

What can you do if you're simply not getting anywhere with an airline? You have the option to file a copy of your complaint with the Department of Transportation. Your credit card company may also be helpful. Place a call to see if the credit card you used to book tickets has a channel for refunds in place for COVID-19.

Scott Dylan is a contributing writer at and has been to (almost) every country in North, Central and South America with nothing more than a backpack, a laptop and the desire to explore. He speaks Spanish fluently and has logged enough time in planes, trains, rideshares, buses, taxis and rickshaws to know how to rack up rewards and points to get anywhere his heart desires for pennies on the dollar. Email: