INTRODUCTION Earlier on in the year I wrote a video and picture trip report about Virgin Australia's brand new domestic business class offering on their boeing 737-800 aircraft, their most popular body in their fleet. You can view that report right here. They've recently poised themselves to take a slice of the lucrative business traveller market in Australia, a market which Qantas has had a monopoly over since the spectacular collapse of Ansett in 2001. Virgin Australia has now become a full service carrier, with proper lounges, a decent business class offering, and a ever expanding partner airline list. They still have a long way to go, as I alluded to in my previous report, Virgin Australia are going to have a hard time being a real threat to Qantas without the backing of a large international alliance such as Star Alliance, much like Ansett was. Virgin Australia's interline agreements with odd bedfellows like Delta, Singapore Airlines, AirNZ and Etihad means that joining an alliance is a little tricker for Virgin than first meets the eye. Meanwhile on the Qantas front, everyone is constantly being reminded how the flag carrier of Australia is haemorrhaging money, and needing to lay off staff, and shift its.maintenance.bases off shore (leading to the rather dramatic union strikes late last year). However by Qantas' own admission, its domestic business is performing extremely well. So how does Australia's legacy carrier compare to the fresh new face of Virgin and its assault on the business traveller? I am remiss for not posting this trip report much earlier on in the year but haven't had a chance to fly this segment in business up until the other week. I strongly encourage you to read both my previous trip report, and this one in order to get an idea of the differences between the two product. And it's here that any differences should become important, because this trip report is the exact same route as my last (MEL-HBA), on the exact same type of aircraft (B738), but with two different carriers. Let the comparisons begin. MELBOURNE I had been in melbourne for the week for a big scary job interview, as well as a Lady Gaga concert, which was fantastic by the way. I had a truly excellent stay at the Sofitel on Collins in melbourne, one of Accors flagship properties in the capital of Victoria. What's great about the sofitel in melbourne is that Accor AClub Platinum status is actually recognised, a rare event now that everyone seems to be AClub platinum. I booked the cheapest room availible but was automatically upgraded upon checkin to a king luxury room on the 45th floor. Excellent show. Even better, upon entering the room was a little gift, a fruit platter, some pralines, a signed welcome card by the hotel manager and a half bottle of Moet brut imperial, whilst not being my favorite sparkler is still a fantastic gesture. The views were pretty spectacular as well.