I didn't have to actually unplug the airbag...just pulled it from the dash and set it on a box on the floorboard with the wires still attached. I did that because I couldn't figure out how to unplug them and didn't want to break something. I did have to disconnect the battery anyway, because I had a new battery tray to install and some repairs/painting to do underneath it. As tight as that center vent fits, I considered leaving the end screw out so I could remove it later without having to pull the bag, but hopefully it will be a long time before I have to do that again anyway.I've removed airbags from cars plenty of times w/o disconnecting the battery to no explosions.
It would be irresponsible of me to suggest that it's unnecessary because the risk does exist, so that's not what I'm doing here -- but such is my experience.
An added bonus to pulling the bag to replace the light is that I found out why my HVAC has not worked as long as I've owned the car. All this time I thought I was going to have to pull the dash to replace pods and it turned out the incoming vacuum line to the vent control manifold (if that is what it is called) was disconnected. And also, the actuator arm from the center vent pod to the center vent was disconnected. Had to have been done by someone either accidentally or intentionally at some point before I bought the car. Those fittings are tight enough that they wouldn't have just popped off. So, I've been having the air blow out only the side and defrost vents for 6 years only because of something ridiculously simple. B utnhey, now I have normally functioning HVAC and all my dash lights work, all for the high cost of $10!