One lad on Thomson Holiday Flight 1714 said the pilot could be seen “lying prostrate on the floor” after he passed out just 16 minutes into the journey from Newcastle to Larnaca, Cyprus.
Fear then rippled through the cabin when staff were spotted rushing to take oxygen cylinders to take to the cockpit.
The dad, who didn't wish to be named, said: “It was terrifying. I glimpsed inside the cockpit door. There was coffee all over the floor and it looked like the guy had collapsed.
“He was lying prostrate on the floor. It’s not what you want to see happening at the front of the plane.”
In a bid to make a safe landing, the Sunday flight was then diverted to Sofia, Bulgaria.
Shocked passengers were put-up in a hotel until another flight to Cyprus departed on Monday.