You cannot deliberately send air units into combat situations that place them out of range of a place to land afterward. In the
Combat Move phase, prior to rolling any battles, you must be able to demonstrate some possible way (however remote the
possibility is) for all your attacking air units to land safely that turn. This could include a combination of combat moves. It
could also include noncombat moves by a carrier or the mobilization of a new carrier.
In order to demonstrate that an air unit might have a safe landing zone, you may assume that all of your attacking rolls will
be hits, and all defending rolls will be misses. You may NOT, however, use a planned retreat of any carrier to demonstrate
a possible safe landing zone for any fighter or tactical bomber. Once possible landing spaces for all attacking air units have
been demonstrated, you have no obligation to guarantee those landing zones for air units in the course of battle. For example,
aircraft carriers may freely retreat or be taken as casualties, even if doing so leaves air units with no place to land after
combat (such air units will be destroyed at the end of the Noncombat Move phase). However, during noncombat movement
and new unit mobilization, you must provide for safe landing of as many air units as possible after all combats are resolved.
If you declared that a carrier will move during the Noncombat Move phase to provide a safe landing zone for a fighter or a
tactical bomber moved in the Combat Move phase, you must follow through and move the carrier to its planned location in
the Noncombat Move phase unless the air unit has landed safely elsewhere or has been destroyed before then, or a combat
required to clear an intervening sea zone failed to do so. Likewise, if you declared that a new carrier will be mobilized to
provide a safe landing zone for a fighter or tactical bomber, it must be mobilized in that sea zone unless the air unit has landed
safely elsewhere or has been destroyed.
I think you are playing it right unless the carrier wasn’t moved during combat. If you moved it into combat you can retreat it or turn it on its side even if it will strand your planes. If you said you’d move it there in the non combat phase then yes, you have to move it there.