American opens new satellite terminal at DFW Airport, reorganizes gates

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.


  1. Being from a historically regional jet home airport (Midland) this makes connecting in DFW and absolute pain. Especially because of the longer walk. Short connections will be impossible to make for those connecting passengers from regional cities now.

    While it’s nice for american this is definitely unfriendly for passengers who really haven’t had to walk much at all when flying AA at DFW.

    • Hopefully American will keep that in mind so they don’t have to adjust minimum connection times

  2. I’m glad AA wanted this, it got DL out of the satellite. That place is a pain if you’re changing terminals. Avoid E like a disease, refurbished or not.

  3. First, American Eagle flights were already in E (E-34 to E-38) before the gates in the Satellite opened. These were the old US Airways gates. Eagle also used some Gates in D (D5/6, etc., as well). So Eagle flights were already in E, D, and E. Essentially, there are now more Eagle flights in E and will soon be an Admirals Club. Mainline AA flights return to B.

    Second, as far as connecting times go, I wouldn’t think that there is any increase in connecting time. There are moving sidewalks from the Satellite to the terminal and it connects right at where the Skylink train is. The distances involved are no greater than the Terminal B pier.
    This airport was terrible for connecting flights until Skylink opened. With Skylink, you can get from anywhere in DFW to anywhere else in DFW in no more than 15 minutes. This airport is way better than Houston, Atlanta, etc. for connecting flights.

    Third, here’s a Skylink pro trip for locals. If you have the misfortune of parking in one terminal, and returning to another terminal with a checked bag, DO NOT GO TO BAGGAGE CLAIM TO GET YOUR BAG. Instead, take Skylink to your original terminal and GO GET YOUR CAR. Drive around to the terminal where you arrived. Park in one hour parking. Go back inside to baggage claim and reclaim your bag. 9 times out of 10, you will arrive back at the terminal before your bag comes up on the carousel. Instead of having to then wait outside for the slow inter-terminal bus, you have now saved 20 minutes and can get in your car and leave.

    • Thanks Brian, and I echo your baggage tip, been doing it for years since I always park at D

  4. Any information about what flights are being added with the 15 new gates?


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