Delta’s “H8GAYS” PNR: There Are Issues — and Then There are ISSUES!

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

H8GAYS Delta boarding pass

Chris Elliott, a consumer advocate I am proud to know, has published a story in the Washington Post about a “random” PNR or itinerary number that was printed on a Jeff White’s boarding pass recently that said “H8GAYS.”

First off: yes, it is beyond dumb that Delta’s “IT” did not lock this down as well as H8(you insert whatever ethnic or racial slur you can put into some combination here). It could have just as easily been H8CATS or H8COWS, should pet owners or dairy farmers then have a right to be upset if this happens?

There are many states that allow custom license plates for your car. They are often smart enough to not allow certain types of plates, but then there are times where random numbers and letters look, shall we say, not so good.

So should we be in an uproar over this mistake? I really think not and here is why. First off, I don’t hate anyone. I hate certain kinds of foods to the point that I will not eat them but not people. I know for a fact that Delta Air Lines goes OUT OF THEIR WAY to be a fair and equal opportunity employer. They also go out of their way to accommodate flyers with disabilities and as I have seen with the treatment of my elderly mom when she was flying back home with wheelchair assistance needs, Delta and Delta people were nothing but loving and kind. Truly! Delta cares for people.

But let’s get back to Delta IT for a moment. Delta does a ton right as far as product and people. Delta IT is not the company’s strong suit. Delta flyers have been YELLING for years about the HOPELESSLY broken and just about worthless award booking page and the airline just does seem to not care at all or they would have fixed it.  Also, many flyers are not getting correct credit for flights and bonus points and on and on. Not just that but has been down for hours and hours many days in the past months. How can this happen to such a big company? You see my point. Delta does flying well – Delta does not do IT well and that is a fact!

I am sure Delta will make an attempt to see that this kind of PNR name issue does not happen again, but as Chris says in his closing remarks:

“Perhaps passengers expect too much from the winged buses of the 21st century. Maybe it’s time to lower our standards a little.” – Christopher Elliott

What do you think? Is this a major issue or much to do about nothing? You tell me! – Rene

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. There is too much hate in the world today. Just once I’d like to see a Delta PNR come from a place of love.

  2. Not surprising given Delta’s awful IT track record.
    But hey, if it takes something this dumb for Delta to fix their IT(and craptastic search engine) then they can print ‘H8GEOFF’ on my PNR for all I care.
    @Max: That’s pretty funny.

  3. The person who complains about the pnr code is a bozo. Seriously? There are many other problems with airlines industry and you complain about the auto-generated code?

  4. MSPTraveler Reply

    Just booked a flight the other day and got HIYJKN for my PNR.

    Not very comforting 🙂

  5. I think the way to handle this would be to code the system so Jeffrey White’s next trip gets a PNR of ‘LUVGAY’

  6. I was going to a big gay event this past May in Chicago, and my code was GAYS77. I thought it was hilarious. I had to post it on Facebook at LEAST 5 times because it was perfect.

    I would have loved to get that code. I might have posted it on Twitter to see if I could get a travel voucher for it or something, but I would have only done that after I stopped laughing. Or maybe I would have taken it as a sign that something greater than myself was telling me my lifestyle is not an acceptable one, or that Delta hates gays (in which case they really need to review most of their male flight crew), or that I was being passively bullied by an airline………………………………………….lol.

    Take it easy. It’s the holidays–be grateful that you’re fortunate enough to get your ass on an airplane and go somewhere. With all these first world problems, it’s easy to lose sight of how lucky we all are–even if sometimes seat 33D might not feel like it.

    • @Garrett – I would have been much more upset about 33D! 🙁 I mean, no EC, no upgrade. Now that is worthy of a RANT! 😉

  7. Haha, well at this point, and at the VERY least, I don’t understand why anyone would ever get Zone 2 boarding. Just get a credit card for heaven’s sake. I bet you he paid for that one checked bag too…PSH 😛

  8. As a gay man who flies a lot and knows Delta’s record for supporting the LGBT community, I believe this was an honest random mistake due to poor IT at Delta. I don’t think it’s a big deal at all. Yes, it’s worth mentioning, simply so that Delta can correct the error so it doesn’t happen again. But it’s not worth getting in an uproar. There are bigger problems in the world (and with Delta IT) than this, in my opinion.

    Some people take offense to anything. They’re entitled. But that doesn’t mean it’s always actually offensive. It’s a RECORD LOCATOR for crying out loud! We’ve all got bigger things to worry about, even in the LGBT community.

  9. Now maybe airline IT departments will have a 160+ page black list of PNR codes that cannot be published, similar to the DMV lists of license plates that you cannot have.

  10. I agree with Delta Points 33D lol thats something to get pissed about!

  11. @jyee – that could be bad too. One can take that as “southwest is gay.”

  12. Really??? This is all people have to worry about? This hyper-sensitive crap is why were even discussing it. I guarantee that regardless of what Delta does to filter and shuffle SOMEONE will be offended by some combination of letters. My message to the one concerned is get a life.

  13. Agreed – this is overblown, BUT DELTAS IT STINKS! Perhaps if they hadn’t been outsourced to build the Obamacare website they would have had time to work on things like this… Just kidding they really didn’t build the OC website (or did they?)

  14. Not Delta IT fault people can twist PRN #’s to words.

    People keep blasting Delta’s award site, maybe because I mainly fly Delta I don’t see the direct comparison. I have a Barclays US Airways card and 100,000 miles and even with the 5000 mile discount I can’t find a decent flight and the surcharges and fees are higher with the worst routing, I would rather just pay to fly Delta than use my US Air miles. I have never had a problem finding a decent seat for a decent amount of miles on Delta. Plus I don’t have to go through Philly from CVG to get to SFO on a 6am, 2 stop, 12 hour trip trying to save a few thousand miles, when I can just go direct on Delta for 25k. I find Delta site a dream compared to US Air.

    First time DM this year. Thanks to Delta points.

  15. Kris White Reply

    Jeff White is my son. It IS a big deal. This is unacceptable. How absurd and insensitive to compare a “cow” code with “h8 gays” code. How would YOU feel if your son got this code?!

    • @Kris White – I think if you look at most readers, they feel this is no big deal. I think the many thousands of Dairy farmers, who make milk and milk products, would have every right to complain about Delta “H8-ing” cows. I was not comparing one to the other. I am a HUGE cat fan and long to have one. But the point is this was NOT intentional and just a random thing. I am sure the combo H8 will not be allowed soon for Delta PNRs! Oh, and I would not care what any PNR ever said as it is more important to me where I sit on the plane and the service I get. That matters big time to me!

  16. It does not bother me a bit. I truly dislike people (I do not hate them) who go out of their way to be a “victim”. If you are really a victim there should be blood somewhere or suffering from PTSD. You are not a victim with a happenstance like having a strange PNR.

    I also do not like our PC world, Grow up.

    Have a nice day!


  17. Kris White Reply

    @ Garrett- he is a college IT student. There are some rude, [edit] on this page. Please think about what you are saying because you would not say these comments to a person’s face. I’m done. Just think about it, please. [no personal attacks on the blog Kris]

  18. To Kris White: I would tell my son to understand this was not targeted at him. These are generated codes by, an insensitive, computer. I would further tell him that if he is still deeply offended, to grow up and realize not everything happens for a reason.

    Do you honestly think Delta targeted Jeff White? Kris, this is not a big deal, to me it is at most unfortunate.

    Delta Airlines fly’s people from point A to point B, and they do this very well. They do not operate a PC coding system.

    My guess is most people never look at their PNR. And if they do I’m not too sure they look to see if it is some kind of hate speech.

    The way I look at any airline transportation, if I get there in one piece, I’m happy. If it gets me there late, or the next day, via 3-7 connections, I’m Ok with it. If the bags are lost or late, I may not be happy, but I understand it still beats driving. But then again I do not look for ways to be offended either.

    I wish you luck with your son.

    Maybe counseling is in order. JUST KIDDING!


  19. Must be very tiring to always be on the lookout for ways to be offended. Really, Kris? Do you really believe that someone in IT knew your son and knew to put that particular PRN on his boarding pass? If Delta’s IT department was capable of doing that, don’t you think their award calendar would work better?

  20. I’m more disturbed by the fact the Rene will not eat certain foods, but people are fare game: “I hate certain kinds of foods to the point that I will not eat them but not people.”…..people are yummy! 🙂

  21. Jessica Mays Reply

    Delta IT does not generate confirmation numbers, their GDS does.

  22. @Kris: Just checked back into this. Realize that I had a response here. Way late…did my best not to respond, but here goes…

    I would say that to anyone’s face. I’m gay. Luckily I’ve been fortunate enough to not have experienced a lot of the hardships that we hear about every day. That being said, I’ve been called some pretty awful things. To equate a code generated by a computer to someone standing across from me and calling me a stupid [edit] is insulting to me, and to everyone else who has truly been the victim of hateful behavior…any hateful behavior.

  23. IT, like any operation, needs user feedback to engage in continuous improvement. There is no business reason to anger any customer, and Delta would be smart to look at blocking all PNRs in key languages and markets.

  24. Pingback: Some of the Craziest PNRs Ever Seen On Boarding Passes - Your Mileage May Vary

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