This article calls for studies of migration, borders and deportation to bring the practices and dynamic spaces of transportation more fully into the research frame. While modern deportation is unthinkable without vehicles, transport is a black box for the interdisciplinary literature on the state-enforced movement of population. This article focuses on deportation by air and engages largely with policies and practices relating to the UK deportation experience. It has two aims. First, to offer a critical analysis of the techniques and tactics that are used to turn commercial and charter flights into machineries of deportation. Second, to show that aviation is not a mere instrument that puts deportation policy into practice, but, like other material places in the deportation and detention world, an irreducible zone of knowledges, tactics, and politics. A proper understanding of the deportation complex is radically incomplete without an account of the mobile places of transportation.