Is there anyone out there who can give a quick run down of the basics for DFW operations. Things like which runways are typically used for departures and arrivals, etc. I can't seem to even find a consensus on what terminal American Airlines use (seems to be B, but I see a lot of A and C as well). I've never been to DFW before and a quick run through on these types of things would be great. Any takers?
AA operates out of all of A and C, and most of D. Gates from about D15 onward are used exclusively by AA. Gates D6-D14 (give or take 1) are used by the European and Asian heavies (KL, LH, BA, KE), as well as Mexican charters (Sun Country, mainly). American Eagle's international operations (think Mexico) use the low D gates as well, D7-D8, IIRC.
All of terminal B is American Eagle, except for I believe B30 which is a heavies gate, used for Military charters. Gates B34-B39 are used for the American Eagle ATRs, but are equipped with jetbridges that connect to the door at the back of the plane.
Terminal E is not operating at capacity, but sees the rest of the airlines at DFW. UA/CO are at the lowest E gates, up to E6, I think, followed by DL, which has quite a few gates, around to E15 or so (but still a shade of what it used to be, when it was operating out of almost all of terminal E), followed immediately by Air Tran at the adjacent E16-E17. There is a pretty sizable gap, save for a Frontier gate somewhere around E31-32. *disclaimer* I'm giving rough estimates, but I could be off by up to several gates...use the DFW website for exact gate numbers. After F9, US Airways occupies most of the rest of the terminal, with the last 4-5 gates from E34-E39.
Runway ops are pretty straightforward. Prevailing winds are out of the south, which means the 17s and 18s are in use. A couple of universal rules, 31R and 13R are never used for takeoffs, nor are 31L and 13L used for landings. Normal procedure is for the inboard runways (18L and 17R) to be used for departures, with 17C and 18R used for landings. 17L is used as well during busy times, and it's not uncommon to see 13R used for landings for planes arriving from the west. It is also not extremely rare, but certainly somewhat unusual, to see planes landing on 18L when there isn't much departing traffic. Most of the Cargo heavies that park on the west side (e.g. everyone but FedEx, which is over near 13L/31R on the east side) will takeoff on 18R.
Generally speaking, planes arriving from the west and south will use the 18s, and planes arriving from the north and east will use the 17s for landing. Definitely not universally true, though, as I've actually landed on 13R on a 777 from Miami.
For departures, what runway you use is not generally dependent on what side of the airport you're parked on, but what direction you're departing. If you're parked at D35, for a flight to LGA, it's very likely (>80%) that you'll take off on 17R. Exceptions are when the airport isn't busy, but it is standard procedure to cross the airfield using the cross-field taxiways to depart on the side of the airport you're headed.
Hope this helps.