Boeing couldn’t swipe back at Airbus with a full-width double-decker plane, but the new 787 Dreamliner is still a pretty damn cool thing.

Released into the commercial airline world by Japan’s All Nippon Airlines (ANA), the Boeing 787 has today completed its first return commercial flight. It took off yesterday as Flight NH7871 heading from Tokyo’s Narita Airport to Hong Kong and came back today. On board the 264 seat aircraft were over 40 journalists as well as regular passengers.

The 787 Dreamliner is a feat of aviation genius for completely different reasons to the Airbus A380. This aircraft won’t be stuffing 500 plus passengers on board or be showing off on board duty free shops (like that of the Korean Air A380). What makes it special is the fact that it is built largely from reinforced carbon fibre, a first for commercial airlines. That makes it super light weight so it uses less fuel.

The new, stronger, material has also allowed for bigger windows to be used, and crucially, cabin pressure to be higher. This should make for a far more comfortable flight, especially for those who suffer from motion sickness as the pressure will feel more like being on the ground. It could also reduce the fatigue travellers suffer from long flights.

Passengers on the 787 Dreamliner will also notice the wider cabin. Significantly larger than the Boeing 767, of which it is the natural successor, the 787 beats it by a generous 75 centimetres in terms of width.

Over 820 Boeing 787 Dreamliners have been ordered, including 55 for ANA, two of which they already have. The Airbus answer to the 787, the A350, won’t be arriving until 2013.