July 27 is projected to be the busiest single day for departures from UK airports with 8,841 flights as the summer holiday getaway gets into full swing.

Millions of consumers will leave booking their annual break until just days before they plan to head off, with one in ten people questioned in a survey for the Civil Aviation Authority admitting bagging a last-minute package holiday.

While many travellers will have secured their summer holidays months in advance and be well prepared for any hiccups, the last-minute bargain hunters may well be in danger of overlooking their financial protection in their haste to secure their holidays, the regulator warned.

A total of 38 Atol-protected travel companies collapsed over the last three years with customers continuing their holidays or receiving full refunds if they were still to travel.

Holidaymakers without Atol protection are at risk of losing out if a company providing a part of their holiday goes bust, the regulator added.

CAA director Paul Smith said: “The idea of grabbing a last-minute deal is of course very appealing, but it is worth spending some time to check your holiday bargain is Atol protected.

“Having an Atol certificate means that you are covered financially if your travel company goes bust – you will be able to get home at no extra cost and will not lose your hard-earned cash.

“Whenever you book your holiday, look for the Atol logo to ensure you can fully enjoy your break.”