Boeing delivers its first 787 jet today. It has been a long time coming.
The new jet, which was supposed to be flying passengers three years ago, has been delayed by production and design problems. But now it's here, and airlines expect it to offer travelers much more comfort, open up new routes and provide significant fuel savings.
The first one goes to Japan's All Nippon Airways, which has been printing the 787 logo and "We Fly 1st" on its business cards for years.
Airlines love the jet, which Boeing calls the Dreamliner. They've ordered more than 800, well above levels for previous new jets.
Instead of the usual aluminum skin, most of the 787 is covered in carbon fiber, a high-tech plastic that is strong but lightweight. Military planes and portions of other jetliners have used it for years, but this is the first time so much has been used on an airliner.
The new material's strength allows windows to be bigger and higher, and electronic dimming replaces pull-down shades. That should mean you will no longer be blinded when the guy next to you falls asleep with the shade up.
Air pressure will be closer to what passengers are used to on the ground. And the humidity can be kept higher. Those two changes should reduce dry noses and throats.
The first U.S. customer is United Continental Holdings Inc., which will get its first 787s next year.