The Hollywood actor was flying to Los Angeles on a private jet with his The Rum Diary director Bruce Robinson when the engines cut out, leaving both men terrified.
Depp admits his initial reaction inexplicably gave way to laughter as he thought about meeting his end in a plane crash.
He tells Live magazine, ""The plane just shut down. The sound of the engines stopped. There was silence. Bruce and I were looking at each other and I think I said, 'Is this it?' It was like this weird extended moment when you're just floating for a second and you could feel this unpleasant descent.
""Nobody said a word except for Bruce and I, sitting next to each other saying, 'Oh s**t! This is death; I guess this is how it goes down.' Then we burst into hysterical laughter at the idea that this was how we were going to die.""
The pair eventually breathed a sigh of relief as the engines re-started, and Depp is convinced the experience helped him bond with Robinson.
He adds, ""Suddenly the engines started back up again and we were climbing back up. I guess you could say that was a big bonding experience for Bruce and me. For a moment there, we were going down together.""