Let me preface this by saying it is not my goal or intention to turn this into a CO v UA discussion. I'm a "new" UA 1K via flying over 100k miles on CO last year and although I've flown UA several dozen times, this was my first as a UA "elite." Connected via ORD to EWR and as EWR is prone to do, we had an ATC delay. In the RCC at ORD I asked to be moved to an earlier flight (which happened to be op'ed by CO) and was told that only CO could confirm me on it. I called CO who snagged me a seat, but they said UA had to "unseat me" from my UA res. Because I had taken a segment that day on UA they couldn't force me off, only UA could. So, I asked the folks at the club to unseat me. One agent flatly told me no, because my ticket was issued on 005 stock (despite the fact that I was trying to be removed from a UA flight op'ed by UA). The next agent down the counter said she'd help me. She typed for a few minutes and sent me on my way. At the CO gate they said I couldn't get my BP because I was still on the UA flight. Back to the club I went - more typing, and was told I was good to go. CO said no. Like a yo yo I went back and forth a few times. Finally at the CO gate a UA supervisor appeared. I asked if he could help me and he said "no" because he couldn't work the CO computers. He sent me to another gate who refused to help me because I wasn't on the flight they were working on. yadda yadda yadda. I finally found a UA agent who took care of my request and "unseated me" from the flight. I got back to the CO gate just in time to watch the plane push. So, I missed the flight. I missed the flight entirely due to a lack of several agents in the RCC, at gates, and a UA Supervisor's inability to fulfill a simple request. I emailed the 1K email (the web-form didn't work) and have yet to receive a response. I tried calling the customer relations number and got through to the ICC who told me I flew on the flight I was booked (which is technically true). So what on earth do I do? Where did I go wrong? And how can I better navigate UA's system so I'm not stuck in a web of stupidity and complacency next time I experience Irr.Opps? And does UA have a functioning customer service mechanism? Thanks.