Finally, you have reached your destination successfully. Scan your surroundings to make sure that you didn't forget anything on the plane. Prepare your passport so that it is within reach and exit the plane. Each country has its own immigration policies. Some countries, such as Switzerland, Austria or Germany, will have a border police officer check to make sure that you are not blacklisted from entering the country and will then allow you to pass through.
In some countries, like the U.S. or England, the policies are stricter. Their main concern is regarding illegal immigrants attempting to settle there. In these countries, in addition to checking your passport and visa, you will be asked various questions when relevant. Some of these questions might include: asking about the purpose of your visit, length of your stay, occupation, etc. In the U.S. and England, you must fill out a landing card distributed by the flight staff prior to landing.
In the U.S., they will photograph you and take your fingerprints. There are many variations of this process in other countries, which we will not list here. In any event, answer each question with an answer that is short and to the point. The immigration officer has the authority to deny you access to the country even if you have a valid visa. It can be extremely uncomfortable and possibly expensive to be denied entry. Take into account that there may be a long line you must endure until reaching the officer, and you have no choice but to wait patiently and follow instructions.
You passed through passport control and now enter the area for baggage claim. In the baggage claim area, there are rotating carousels filled with suitcases. Pay attention to the signs above each carousel that lists the flight number and the origin of each plane. You don't want to end up standing by the carousel to collect luggage from Cairo when you took off from Tel Aviv. When you spot your suitcase, pull it off the carousel and check the tags to ensure that it is, in fact, your suitcase.
It is possible that someone else has the same suitcase as you. (Once, in Kiev, I almost walked out of the airport with a suitcase that was not mine. Thankfully, while still at the exit, I opened the suitcase to get an item and discovered that the suitcase was not mine! I immediately went back inside, which is not always a simple task to do, and found my own suitcase.) It's a good idea to tie a colorful piece of fabric or ribbon to the handle of your suitcase in order to make it easier to spot.
The baggage claim area will also have carts. Some places, like Ben Gurion International Airport, provide these carts for free. Other places require a coin to release the carts from the chain of carts. The coin will be returned to you when you return the cart to the chain. Some places, like New York, require you to pay for your cart (I think the cost is $3.)
If your suitcase does not arrive, which we hope will not happen, go to the lost and found desk in the baggage claim area. You will be asked to fill out a form. There is a direct communication line between all of the airlines and the details of your luggage will be entered into the computer. There is a good chance that your suitcase will be found somewhere in the world. If you receive your suitcase but find it damaged, approach the same desk to receive confirmation of the damage. You can use this confirmation later to submit a claim to the airline or to the insurance.
Now, with your suitcase and carry-on bag in hand, exit the airport to freedom. You have two paths toward customs: the red route is for travelers carrying dutiable items and the green route is for travelers without such items. There are customs officials at the green route as well, who can stop travelers at their own discretion and ask to check their bags. After passing through, you can finally go free.