Gate space is the lifeblood of any airline.  In order to fly from one airport to another you need gates to park your aircraft and load your passengers.  Gate space is at a premium pretty much everywhere in the world, moreso at airports like LAX.

American cut the ribbon yesterday to open their new satellite terminal at DFW Airport’s Terminal E.

American Satellite E Terminal at DFW Airport, copyright Andy Luten

The satellite terminal has been completely refurbished and will have fifteen gates exclusively for American Airlines to use.  Adding 15 gates at once just doesn’t happen these days (Dallas’s Love Field, home of Southwest Airlines, has 20 gates in its entirety, for comparison).  The satellite terminal will be used for regional flights on American Eagle jets, which are smaller than mainline jets.  The satellite terminal connects with the main terminal complex via an underground walkway, no buses will be needed for connections.

Ribbon cutting of Satellite Terminal E, courtesy of American Airlines

Resulting changes to Terminal B at DFW Airport

Regional flights used to be almost entirely consolidated to Terminal B at DFW Airport, which made things predictable and routine for passengers.  As part of the renovations, eight regional gates at DFW will be consolidated and repurposed into six mainline gates.

The great, good, and maybe-kinda-confusing news for the customer

The new gates will allow American to surpass 900 daily departures from DFW Airport.  From a corporate standpoint it’s hard to imagine any better news for American and it rescores just how crucial the DFW fortress hub is to the company’s bottom line.  This is generally great news for customers, as it will allow them to fly to more places at better frequencies than before.

Satellite Terminal E, courtesy of American Airlines

Will there be a new Admiral’s Club?  Yep!  It will open later in 2019 and will mark the fifth Admirals Club and sixth American lounge at its home airport.

So that was the great news and the good news, now the potentially confusing bit.  There will be an adjustment for customers as a result of these changes.  Regional flights can now depart from Terminal B or the new satellite at Terminal E, which are on the opposite side of the airport from one another.  Mainline flights now depart from four different terminals at DFW: A, B, C, or D.

Historically, if you knew you were flying on a mainline flight (i.e. not American Eagle), you’d avoid Terminal B.  And, after the merger with US Airways, if you were flying American, you could avoid Terminal E entirely.  American will need to communicate with its customers well in order to keep them on their way as efficiently as possible, just a lot of old habits to break.


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