A US airline has apologised after a customer was offended by a confirmation code which read “H8GAYS”.

Jeff White, a student at the University of West Florida, said he was shocked by the confirmation code on his Delta Airlines booking, and worried that other customers might think that he chose the code on purpose.

Speaking to the Washington Post, he said: “At first I didn’t think I read it right… I was worried that another customer might think I somehow picked that code. If I were a gay male, I might have thought that a Delta worker purposely gave me that code, and that would have made me extremely uncomfortable.”

The airline apologised for any “concern or misunderstanding” caused by the code, and said they are automatically generated. The Post reports that the airline said it would attempt to ensure that similar codes are not drawn up in future.

White said: “I’m sure they removed many four-letter words that would be seen as offensive… I’m surprised that ‘gays’ and ‘H8’ weren’t blocked as well.”