Hub/spoke vs Point to Point. And materials...
It all goes down to ATC. Europe is today an Air Traffic Control nightmare as a whole, with planes crossing 5 or 6 controlling agencies (or so I heard), so having fewer planes crossing that was in the back of more than a few minds when the A380 was conceived.
However, in USA, the nightmare was the ATC around the great hubs, with great empty spaces between them. If the planes could avoid altogether the hubs, it would mean fewer delays. Spreading out would solve a slew of problems there, another POV that Boeing noticed.
Of course passengers prefer point to point. I know I do. But if the large planes achieve any sort of economy of scale and become cheaper overall, then they are justified.
The point becomes then, whether companies would make available all the odd destinations at all times, and would there be passengers to fill them up. I heard that even smaller planes (Fokker 100 size, 100-ish ppl onboard.) need to be more than 90% full to achieve any profit. Finding 100-200 people at once that wish to go from Buenos Aires to Madri isn't exactly a profitable proposal on a regular basis. That's why overbooking was invented, and banned.
Sorry did I say Fokker 100 fits 100 people? I don't know. It could be just 50, I'm making a point here.
As for the materials... the most interesting airplanes of WWII were made of wood or mostly canvas, like the Mosquito, or the (underdog? under-appreciated?) Hurricane. Who knows what else they will come up next. I just know that a Carbon Fibre plane wouldn't agree with thunder and lighting without some sort of conductive lining, while aluminum-any-alloy doesn't have that problem. Yes, most of the issues are related to weight and strength, but not just that is important in the long run, sometimes you require some ease of maintenance too.