(WFSB/WABC/CNN) - Passengers on 23 planes were stranded on the tarmac for up to nine hours without food, water or a bathroom after snowstorms pounded the Northeast over the weekend.
The planes were diverted to Hartford, CT according to JetBlue Airlines, which says six of the planes were theirs. In a statement, the company apologized for the delay, saying power outages at the airport made correcting problems difficult.
"It is absolutely unacceptable that the airlines and the airport did not manage to get these passengers off the plane," said Kate Hanni, who runs Flyersrights.org. Hanni was part of the push for the Airline Passenger's Bill of Rights after she was stranded on a plane five years ago.
"The flying public has overwhelmingly said they would rather have their flight canceled or be stuck inside an airport than they would like to be stuck inside an airplane," Hanni said.
An airport spokesperson was not available to comment on the incident. The DOT regulation does not apply to airports.
The DOT has said the passenger protection rule has virtually eliminated delays of three hours or more. A spokesperson said no airlines have been fined since the new rule came out, but the agency will be investigating what happened in Connecticut.