Airline industry officials and consumer advocates say last weekend's stranding of hundreds of travelers, some for as long as seven hours, on an airport tarmac in Connecticut show the threat of hefty government fines can't prevent such incidents.

Twenty-three planes were forced by a rare October snowstorm and equipment problems at Newark's Liberty International Airport in New Jersey and John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York to divert to a much smaller airport in Hartford, Conn., on Saturday.

Passengers on at least three JetBlue Airways planes and an American Airlines flight reported being confined for seven hours or more. Food and water ran out, toilets backed up and tempers snapped.

A consumer advocate says it doesn't appear that JetBlue made arrangements to protect passengers from such eventualities.